More cheating by students during home-based examinations

Reports of cheating have increased greatly during the spring of 2020. To 14 July, 190 cases have been reported to LiU’s disciplinary board.


“We see the increase as a result of the campus-based examinations being cancelled during the spring, and being replaced with home-based examinations. The increase is primarily due to prohibited cooperation between students”, says Margareta Bachrack Lindström, deputy vice-chancellor and chair of the disciplinary board.

Every reported case is investigated by the disciplinary board. This year at the board will have three extra meetings, and review more cases per meeting, in order to assess the cases as promptly as possible.

“It’s important to make individual assessments, and that all suspected students are able to present their case, both in writing and in person”, says Margareta Bachrack Lindström.

Cheating taken seriously

The disciplinary board takes cheating seriously, she emphasises. In those cases where cheating is confirmed, the student either receives a warning or is suspended. Suspension normally lasts for four weeks, and no study assistance is paid during this period. In the event of a further instance of cheating, the student will be suspended for a longer period.

Up to 14 July, the board made decisions for 180 students. 93 of these resulted in suspension, 41 in a warning, and 46 in no action, i.e. the student was absolved.

“Teachers and examiners who are in charge of examinations must ensure that students, regardless of the examination form, receive accurate information about permitted and prohibited aids, and whether or not they are allowed to work together. For every case that is assessed in the disciplinary board, this is checked. If the information has been accurate, it is the student’s duty to follow it. This has also been the case this spring”, says Margareta Bachrack Lindström.

An increase since 2016

Reasons for cheating can differ. For instance, the student may be under a lot of pressure to perform, there may be financial reasons, or the student might not have understood the examination rules.

Cheating has increased since 2016 but Margareta Bachrack Lindström stresses that only a very small percentage of LiU’s 32,000 students are reported for cheating. In addition, of those reported to the disciplinary board, 20-25 per cent are absolved.

“Even though the number of reports is increasing, most students do the right thing. They take responsibility for their actions, they get information about the rules that apply for exams, and they follow them. But of course, we hope that cheating will decrease. Because students who cheat do not have the skills they are expected to have when entering the workforce. They are fooling themselves and others.”

A similar increase in cheating is also evident at other Swedish universities this spring.


Translated by Martin Mirko

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