Designing out plagiarism

Effective assessment design can greatly reduce the potential for plagiarism. Here are a few tips to consider when thinking about how you could use assessment to deter plagiarism:

Ensure your students understand what plagiarism is

You could use formative assessment to teach your students about plagiarism, for example, the importance of proper referencing. Making use of peer and self-assessment in this process can also help students to develop their judgement skills, helping them to differentiate between good and bad resources. See the peer and self-assessment section for more.

Don't reuse the same assignment titles year on year

Regular revisions to the titles and/or assessment briefs of assessment tasks reduces the possibility of students copying from or resubmitting submissions from previous cohorts.1

Make use of alternative assessment formats

Diversifying assessment methods (and/or incorporating elements of self-reflection within existing assignments, where appropriate) and moving away from using assignment (e.g. essay) titles that could easily be copied (or even bought!) from websites, can reduce opportunities for plagiarism.
Find out more about different methods of assessment.

Consider restricting the resource list for your assessment

Restricting your students to using only a limited number of resources for an assignment, particularly websites, can reduce opportunities for plagiarism.

Ask your students to show their working

Requiring your students students to give evidence of their processes, such as draft versions or copies of research materials, can discourage plagiarism.

The list above is based on the Reduce the risk of plagiarism in just 30 minutes leaflet by ASKe and Top 10 tips on... Deterring plagiarism by UELT University of Kent/LearnHigher CETL.


  1. Carroll, J. (2007) A Handbook for Deterring Plagiarism in Higher Education (2nd ed.) Oxford Centre for Staff Development and Learning, Oxford

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