How Does Penn Foster Track Cheating? (Tips, Policy, FAQs)

Cheating at Penn Foster: Penn Foster is an online school with the clearance or accreditation to teach various courses and administer exams online to students.

Penn Foster College offers associate, bachelor’s, and undergraduate certificates, a system called “Asynchronous online courses and instruction.”

The college has no hand in participating in any federal or state aid programs as its educational system is quite affordable for anyone who wants it.

This article provides tips on Penn Foster, how Penn Foster handles Cheating and some instances of academic dishonesty.

What is Penn Foster?

Penn Foster is a private, online distance education institution in the United States. It was founded in 1890 as the International Correspondence Schools (ICS) and later changed its name to Penn Foster in honor of its founder, Thomas J. Foster.

Penn Foster offers a range of programs, from high school diplomas to specialized trade/technical career diplomas and certificate programs, as well as associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs.

The institution focuses on flexible, self-paced, and affordable learning, making it appealing to individuals balancing work, family, and education.

Penn Foster has made it its mission to assist professionals like you in launching, advancing, and thriving professionally.

The online platform has been dedicated to this goal for over a century and a half.

With over 100 self-paced, career-relevant programs across our College, Career, and High school campuses, students may get the education they need at a price they can afford.

The program you select is tailored to meet your specific learning needs, and it is created to accommodate your busy schedule so you may study whenever and wherever you want.

Penn Foster allows you to study at home and at your own pace.

There is no rush, no immediate reason to run to class or beat the traffic, and be in class almost immediately to sit for any exam or write a test.

The working class can also afford this school as it has your convenience first in mind for learning and examinations. The fact that this college is very affordable makes it super great.

Your tuition fee includes everything you will need to be in school, from books, study guides, and learning aids to the excellence this college has had and the success it has achieved over the years.

About Penn Foster Accreditation:

Penn Foster College is nationally accredited for the college programs by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Can You Cheat on Penn Foster?

Cheating on any educational platform, including Penn Foster, is against academic integrity guidelines and can result in serious consequences.

While it’s technically possible for someone to attempt to cheat, given the online nature of the program, Penn Foster has put measures in place to deter dishonest behavior.

This includes proctored exams, where students are monitored while taking an exam to ensure they’re not using unauthorized resources or getting outside assistance.

However, just like with any online or traditional education system, the actual value of education comes from genuinely understanding and internalizing the material. Cheating not only devalues one’s own education but can lead to issues later in one’s career when foundational knowledge is required.

If a student is caught cheating, Penn Foster has a policy that can lead to consequences ranging from failing the assignment or exam to being expelled from the program.

It’s always best to approach one’s education with honesty and integrity, ensuring a proper understanding of the long-term benefits of it.

How Does Penn Foster Track Cheating?

“Cheating” refers to committing fraud, deception, or dishonesty in an academic setting.

Using materials that are not authorized by the assignment’s guidelines or aiding others in using materials that are not authorized is a type of cheating.

Now, since learning is online at Penn Foster, examinations and tests are suggested to follow the same protocol online, too.

It is quite easy for students enrolling in an online examination to cheat, but Penn Foster has a way to track cheating.

Here is how Penn Foster Tracks Cheating:

Penn Foster, like many online educational institutions, uses a combination of strategies and technologies to detect cheating:

1. Proctored Exams:

Penn Foster proctored exams are tests taken by Penn Foster students overseen by an approved individual (a proctor) to ensure that the student takes the exam honestly and without any external assistance.

This process ensures the integrity of the exam results.

A proctor supervises the students while they take the exam to ensure they don’t use unauthorized resources or get help.

2. Plagiarism Detection Software:

Assignments can be run through plagiarism detection tools that compare the content against vast existing content databases to find matches. This helps detect if a student has copied from another source without proper citation.

3. Pattern Analysis:

If a student’s performance suddenly changes or there’s a distinct difference in the quality or style of their work, it might raise suspicion.

For example, if a student consistently struggles with assignments but suddenly submits perfect work, it might be reviewed more closely.

4. Web Browsing Monitoring:

While it’s more invasive, some online testing platforms can monitor students’ web browsing during exams to ensure they aren’t looking up answers.

5. Keystroke Analysis:

Some advanced systems might analyze how a person types to ensure consistency across assignments and tests. A sudden change could suggest someone else is doing the work.

6. Webcam Monitoring:

Some online proctoring tools use the student’s webcam to monitor the student visually, watching for suspicious activities during the exam.

7. Randomized Questions:

Some online exams are randomized or pulled from a larger question bank. This means that students get different questions, making it harder to share answers.

8. Time Tracking:

If an online exam is expected to take an hour and a student finishes it in 10 minutes with a perfect score, it might raise suspicion.

How Penn Foster Uses Online Proctoring System to Track Cheating:

An online proctoring system has been introduced, making it seem like you had face-to-face contact with a real proctor.

Since then, there has been an introduction of over a million proctored exams that have been taken on the systems of Penn Foster.

Less than 1% of proctored events are flagged for infractions from these remotely proctored exams.

Webcam systems are in place, and the student is recorded throughout the exams. They are also limited to walking around after an exam has started.

They will be required to show proof of identity through an identity card or a license to the webcam for additional identification to prove studentship with Penn Foster College.

This recording will eventually be saved and audited by the remote proctoring platform.

More so, the student will also be tasked with looking for a credible proctor who meets the requirements to proctor the exams, and yet again, Penn Foster will verify the credibility of the said proctor, too.

The process of ascertaining the proctor would be through an ongoing programmatic roll, and then Penn Foster works towards changing all the exams to fit into the remote proctor’s option.

Read more:

How to Ensure the Awareness of Students about Integrity of Online Proctoring:

With online proctoring, students can take exams whenever they want, giving them more freedom to advance at their speed rather than waiting until the end of the semester to complete their coursework.

With regards to online learning, there’s no doubt about that. Therefore, online schools must demonstrate their dedication to their students’ success by preparing them for success.

One way to ensure that students learn the content is through online proctoring, increasing the school’s integrity and credibility.

Academic Dishonesty or Cheating in Penn Foster:

The definition of cheating is any attempt at an inappropriate collaborative activity where the work provided to the school does not accurately represent the work of the enrolled student, as stated in Penn Foster’s Student Handbook, notably in the section on Academic Dishonesty.

One sort of academic dishonesty or cheating is plagiarism. It involves using someone else’s ideas, words, or statements without giving them due credit.

Like traditional institutions, online schools prioritize academic integrity to ensure that the value and credibility of their programs are maintained.

As online education has grown, institutions have developed policies to deter and detect cheating in this environment. Here are some popular cheating policies and practices adopted by online schools:

1. Honor Codes:

Many institutions have students agree to an honor code that emphasizes the importance of academic integrity and outlines the behaviors that constitute cheating.

2. Proctored Exams:

As discussed about Penn Foster, some online courses require exams to be proctored. This can be done in person, at a designated test center, or via webcam monitoring and screen-sharing technology.

3. Plagiarism Detection:

Schools often use software tools, like Turnitin or Copyscape, to check student submissions for copied content.

These tools compare the submitted content against a vast database to detect potential plagiarism.

4. Randomized Questions:

To prevent students from sharing answers, online quizzes, and exams can randomize questions or pull from a larger pool of questions, ensuring each student receives a slightly different test version.

5. Time Limits:

By setting a time limit on exams or quizzes, institutions can make it more challenging for students to look up each answer or consult with others.

6. Browser Lockdown:

Some online testing platforms prevent students from navigating away from the test page or opening other browser tabs/windows.

7. Webcam Monitoring:

With the student’s consent, some online proctoring tools will use the student’s webcam to monitor their surroundings and ensure no unauthorized materials are being used.

8. Regularly Updated Content:

Course content, especially for exams and quizzes, may be updated regularly to reduce the likelihood of students using previous years’ materials to cheat.

9. Discussion Boards:

Some online courses have discussion boards where students interact with each other. Monitoring these can help detect if students share answers or engage in other forms of academic dishonesty.

10. Consequences for Cheating:

Most online schools have a clear policy outlining the consequences of cheating, ranging from receiving a zero on an assignment to expulsion from the program.

What are some instances of academic dishonesty or cheating?

Academic dishonesty comes in a variety of forms. Some of them are crystal clear, while others are less so. You can see examples of academic lying or cheating in the list below.

  • Bribery
  • Cheating
  • Conspiracy
  • Misrepresentation
  • Collusion
  • Fabrication
  • Academic Misconduct
  • Duplicate Submission

Is Academic Dishonesty a significant issue?

It can be serious if students are discovered engaging in plagiarism, unapproved collaboration, or other types of academic dishonesty. They risk being suspended or kicked out of the school.

Therefore, you must ensure that your task is done accurately and honestly.

Since Penn Foster’s online program is self-paced, you can take as much time as you need to learn and comprehend the content on your first try.

Official Website Of Penn Foster

Frequently Asked Questions on Penn Foster and Cheating:

Can I finish Penn Foster in 3 months?

Penn Foster High School will award you a diploma once you complete all required courses. As few as three years are required to get your degree. It’s also possible to complete a year of high school in as little as nine months if you qualify for credit from prior education.

How long is a semester at Penn Foster?

12 months

Does Penn Foster have a final exam?

There are no typical “final exams” in Penn Foster’s online programs. They don’t have any final exams at all in career diploma programs and their high school diplomas. You’ll be able to graduate as long as you’ve done well in your classes.

Can you cheat on Penn Foster?

To avoid doubt, it is expressly forbidden to use Content in any way that could damage the integrity of Penn Foster educational programs or students’ educational experiences in any way to cheat on Penn Foster educational examinations or assignments.


There is a huge penalty for cheating, and anyone caught will face the total penalty of the law. It is pertinent always to study as Penn Foster has zero tolerance for cheating.

Studying effectively has proven to be a solution to academic issues. Do not just dream big but work hard to actualize the dream.

Awesome one; I hope this article answers your question.

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ST Admin
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Hello, I am ST Admin! For five years, I began actively assisting students in Europe, the United States, and Canada in their pursuit of college advice and scholarship prospects. I am the Administrator of at present.

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