I believe that well-designed, relevant homework is important to children's
education, so I try very hard to make homework both interesting and
worthwhile. When students cheat on their homework, they deny themselves
the knowledge that could be gained if the homework had been completed
legitimately.

To prevent cheating from stealing the education I am trying to provide
my students, I have devised a two-version homework system. The following
example is based on a "How To" entitled Word
Math, which was posted earlier on this web site--and is still available--and
which is partially illustrated below.

5 + 3 =

8 C

24 X .5 =

12 a

5² =

25 t

YOUR STUDENTS USE THE ANSWERS TO COMPUTATION OR WORD- PROBLEM MATHEMATICS
HOMEWORK TO FIND A SECRET WORD OR MESSAGE. THIS STRATEGY CAN BE
USED FOR TEST TAKING AS WELL.

BASIC STEPS TO PREVENT CHEATING

Make a "secret message" table
with the letters of the alphabet and numbers. (See
sample table below.)

A

a

B

b

C

1

¼

XI

100.5

twenty

Print up
enough copies of the "secret
message" table for every student.

Make
up math homework worksheets
and tests with computation
and word problems. The
answers to the problems
make words or phrases when
used with the "secret
message" table.

Make
up
a
slightly
different
work
sheet
using
the
same
secret
message
table.

5
+ 3 =

8 C

24 X .5 =

12 a

6² =

36 T

Notice
that the last entry is 6² = 36 not 5² = 25.
The new secret message is now CaT while the
old one is Cat.

Students usually don't take the time to notice that they have received
different worksheet. Since it is impossible to get the answers
and secret message correct if they copy another student's answers,
most children are willing to acknowledge that cheating has taken
place and are not likely to cheat again.

It is advisable to use very similar words when designing these sheets.
For example, Cat and CaT differ only in the upper case T. If very ifferent
words are used, students catch on quickly and then look for another
student who has the same homework sheet that they have.

Come across an outdated link?
Please visit The Wayback Machine to find what you are looking for.