Plagiarism-proof assignments

Bloom’s taxonomy can be used to prevent students from using copy and paste to complete research assignments.

Consider the following assignment:

  1. What are the three types of waves?
  2. In more detail, describe a longitudinal wave.
  3. What is wave interference?

As these are factual questions that access the knowledge level of Bloom’s taxonomy, there is very little the students can do other than copy and paste. It is impossible to answer the first question correctly ‘in your own words’, it is nearly impossible to correctly answer the other questions without using the same words as your source because you are not asking the students to do anything with the information.

In addition to plagiarism, these questions also promote a shallow understanding of the topic.

Bloom's Question Stems

Using question stems from higher up the taxonomy, you can make it difficult for students to take information directly from the source and you can create a deeper learning experience because you are asking the students to do something with the information.

In addition to this, choosing questions from a range of levels in the taxonomy creates a more effective assessment tool by allowing you to see how far through an assignment each student is able to get.

As a result, you might create an assignment like this:

  1. What are the three types of waves? (knowledge)
  2. Use arrows to illustrate the motion of a particle in a transverse wave. (comprehension)
  3. How could you create wave interference in a tank of water? (application)

NB: It is very important that the source of information that you are providing for the students clearly covers the information that you are expecting the students to provide in the assignment. If it doesn’t you will need to change the source or change the question.


About timthelibrarian

Tim Harwood is a Teacher Librarian and eLearning enthusiast.
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