Academic Integrity

Student Conduct and Ethical Development promotes academic integrity through enforcing the Academic Integrity Policy (University Policy F15-7). Pursuant to the Academic Integrity Policy  all allegations of cheating and plagiarism should be referred to Student Conduct and Ethical Development.  

Do You Suspect Academic Dishoensty? 

1) Confront the situation discretely and arrange to meet with the student. 

  • Contact and inform the student that you have evidence indicating an act of academic dishonesty (cheating or plagiarism) may have occurred.
  • You may want to consult with the department chair to discuss the range of possible academic sanctions; you may also consider inviting another faculty or department chair to the meeting with the student.

2) Meet with the student to discuss the alleged cheating or plagiarism.

  • Allow the student to review the evidence and provide an explanation.
  • Take notes of the meeting. Did the student admit to the dishonest behavior?
  • Use a preponderance of the evidence standard to determine whether or not cheating or plagiarism occurred.
  • Communicate your finding and the academic sanctions assigned (in accordance with 4.0 of the Academic Integrity Policy) to the student.
  • Document the conversation and inform the student that you are required to refer this case to Student Conduct and Ethical Development.
  • If a face to face meeting is not possible, contact the student via phone and/or e-mail to hear the student’s perspective on the case.
  • If more than one student is involved in the case, we recommend that you meet with each student separately.

3) Complete the Academic Integrity Reporting Form. Attach the following information in the Supporting Documents section:

  • Course syllabus
  • Copy or original of assignment.
  • Highlight the areas of alleged academic dishonesty on the student’s assignment and source of dishonesty (e.g., report).
  • If multiple sections of alleged dishonesty exist, match the assignment and source of dishonesty with corresponding numbers.
  • Any additional documentation such as website printouts, test copies, etc.


The class syllabus gives you the opportunity to clearly spell out all of your expectations for your class. Academic integrity is essential to the mission of San José State University. You should include a statement about what constitutes dishonesty in your class and provide your students with a list of the possible consequences if they make the choice to violate the Academic Integrity Policy. Please feel free to use the following  statement in your syllabus without citation:

Your own commitment to learning, as evidenced by your enrollment at San José State University and the University’s Academic Integrity Policy (Academic Senate Policy S07-2), require you to be honest in all your academic course work. Faculty members are required to report all alleged violations of the Academic Integrity Policy to Student Conduct and Ethical Development. Instances of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Cheating or plagiarism (presenting the work of another as your own, or the use of another person’s ideas without giving proper credit) will result in a [insert Academic Sanction you choose from section 4.0] and administrative sanctions by the University. For this class, all assignments are to be completed by the individual student unless otherwise specified. If you would like to include in your assignment any material you have submitted, or plan to submit for another class, please note that San José State's Academic Integrity Policy requires approval of instructors.


You may need to confront suspected cheating during an exam without disrupting the class and disturbing the other students.  Here are some tips on how to prevent cheating during an exam and also some ways to respond without causing a disturbance when you need to act in the moment.

Preventing In-Class Cheating

  • If possible, prepare at least two versions of the exam.  You can use the same questions and alter the order, especially on multiple choice and true/false exams.  Exams with similar patterns of answers but with different tests may indicate that one copied from another.
  • As they enter the room, assign places for them to sit.  The first student to arrive might sit in the front row, for example, while the next student sits in the back.
  • Before distributing exams, remind students of your policy on cheating, reading from your syllabus what you’ve told them before. 
  • If you ever suspect a surrogate or imposter may be taking an exam, notify the students that they will need to show photo ID when they turn in their exam; if they don’t have an ID with them, you won’t grade their exam until they show you one later.
  • Remind them of what materials they may use on the exam.  If it is a closed-book, closed-note test, have them clear their desks of books, purses, backpacks, telephones, and other items prior to distributing the exams.  Tell them that anyone looking in their property after the exams are distributed will be considered to be cheating; get out an extra pen/pencil, cough drops, erasers, and the like now.
  • Remind them to turn off cell phones. Anyone seen with a cell phone during the exam will be considered to be cheating.
  • If this is to be a “blue book” exam, have each student bring a booklet to class and sign their name on the back cover.  Collect them and redistribute them randomly, making sure no one gets back their own.  Or, have them bring a blue book and they can trade it for one you provide.
  • Remind them there is to be no talking, and if they have a question, to raise their hand and you will come to them.
  • Walk around the room throughout the exam.  Stand at the back of the room periodically; the students who monitor your whereabouts are the ones to keep an eye on!
  • Tempting though it is, do not read a book, grade papers or other exams, or do other work while monitoring the exam.  Keep an eye out for “wandering eyes” or quiet conversations.
  • When students turn in their exams, have them individually place the exams in a large envelope you’ve provided

Confronting In-Class Cheating

  • If you suspect cheating is occurring, do not take the exam from the student, and send him or her out of the room.  Rather, let them complete the exam, or give them another copy and let them continue on the new one, noting where you exchanged tests.
  • If you notice “wandering eyes,” remind the students that all work must be individual and to keep their eyes on their own paper and/or visit with the student(s) whom you suspect and quietly remind them specifically.
  • If students appear to be exchanging information by talking or copying, quietly record their names, where they are on the exam, and have them quietly change seats.
  • When you see a student using notes or having notes visible, immediately, but discreetly, confiscate the material.  DO NOT destroy the notes as they will be evidence in disciplinary proceedings to follow.  Make a note where the student is on the exam, but let them complete the test.
  • The same applies to having a phone visible; text-messaging is a quiet way to share information.
  • If you hear talking, whispering, or murmuring, in any language, either remind the class in general that no talking is permitted, or quietly confront the students who are doing the talking.  Note where they are on the exam and have them quietly change seats.
  • Sometimes students will have come into the classroom before the exam and written information on the desk.  If you suspect this has happened, have the student change seats, note where they are on the exam, and allow no one else to sit there, if possible. If you have a smart phone or camera, take a picture of the notes on the desk once everyone has left.

Material on this page is courtesy of Cal Poly Pomona University, Cal State San Marcos, and University of California, Davis. 


If you have any questions regarding academic integrity, contact Student Conduct and Ethical Development by phone 408-924-5985, or by email