Assessment Strategies


Research demonstrates that effective assessment strategies reduce academic misconduct. Specifically, strategies such as low stakes assessments, authentic assessments, and engaging students in discussions on academic integrity can help reduce misconduct (Bretag et al., 2019). Read on to hear how UWaterloo instructors are utilizing academic integrity assessment strategies in the online environment.

Ross Willard is a Professor in Pure Mathematics. He focusses on maximizing learning opportunities for students while mitigating misconduct by encouraging them to work in groups and cite any outside sources. His strategies include:

  • Weekly assignments worth 80% of the mark (instead of the usual 20-30%)
  • Encouraging students to work in teams of up to 4
  • Highlighting the best student solution to problems each week and sharing them with the class
  • Encouraging active discussions on Piazza
  • Not prohibiting students from using online solutions for similar problems, however he requires them to cite their sources

Linda Carson was a Continuing Lecturer at the Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business. She used authentic discussions with students about academic integrity and gives students the opportunity to practise good scholarship skills. Her strategies included:

  • Engaging with students about why academic integrity is important [note: instructors can use Linda's video in their classes with attribution]
  • Using Turnitin as an educational tool to give students the opportunity to practice integrating evidence and citing before submitting a final version [note: instructors can learn more about using Turnitin as an education tool on our Turnitin page]
  • Using low stakes, frequent, open-book assessments to keep students on track
  • Using an ungraded, humorous practice quiz at the beginning of the term to familiarize students with her quizzes
  • Allowing students to customize their written assignment to a topic of their interest
  • Using question pools and randomizing questions/answers in Learn quizzes


Instructors can ask students to sign the following academic integrity agreements when completing assignments and tests:

Implementing the use of a signed form can help reduce academic misconduct (Ely, Henderson & Wachsman, 2014; Konhheim-Kalkstein, 2006). In particular, research demonstrates that signing an academic integrity form in a non-proctored environment can decrease instances of cheating (Ely, Henderson & Wachsman, 2014). Instructors should introduce the form to be signed by students and discuss the intent behind its use.

The form is a reminder that academic integrity is important, and that each student is personally committing, by their signature, to uphold the values of integrity and honestly demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the topic at hand. Being explicit and specific about prohibited behavior makes it easier for students to understand and avoid (Whitley & Keith-Speigel, 2001).



The OAI has both an academic integrity module and an academic integrity quiz for instructors to use in their Learn courses.

  • The Undergraduate Academic Integrity Module introduces students to the six University core values: honestry, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, and courage. Students work through short videos and mini-quizzes on academic integrity, and take a final, summative quiz. The module is open access and takes approximately 45 minutes to complete.
  • Academic Integrity for Undergraduate STEM students - there are six online modules about academic integrity to better prepare students in STEM to tackle academic challenges. These modules are available in both English and French. These modules seek to fill that gap by providing real-world examples specific to all four STEM disciplines (science, computer science, engineering and math) so all undergraduate students can progress through their studies with a standardized base of knowledge and clear understanding of how these topics relate to circumstances unique to STEM fields.
  • Academic Integrity 101 is a self-registration course in LEARN that students can review on their own. It is a comprehensive overview of academic integrity and issues like unauthorized collaboration, plagiarism and copyright. There is a quiz at the end of the module. Students receive notification if they pass the quiz.
  • Alternatively, instructors can use an academic integrity quiz in their course. The quiz tests students on avoiding unauthorized collaboration and plagiarism before completing an assessment. Instructors can add a release condition to their course's assessment (e.g., assignment, quiz, exam, etc.) so that is not released to a student in Learn until the quiz is completed. Instructors can aslo add a release condition to the dropbox so that it does not become available until the quiz is completed and the assessment is accessed. For more information on setting up a release condition in your course, visit Learn Help: Release Conditions, or contact your CTE liasion.