Graded assignments and examinations tend to have two functions: formative and evaluative. Formative assessments have the primary function of providing feedback to the student for the purpose of improvement. Schulich courses tend to have a number of formative feedback points, be it through graded/corrected homework, assignments, presentations or examinations. Such a structure allows the student to improve their knowledge and skills over the duration of the course.
A secondary purpose of this type of assessment, and the primary purpose of evaluative assessment, is to determine at which level the student has mastered the course’s learning outcomes. In many courses this assessment is done relative to that of the student’s peers in the class.
While assessments are useful in many respects, they also represent a headache as some students perceive there to be an incentive to cheat, either by soliciting help that’s not allowed, by copying and pasting without attribution, or by using non-sanctioned aids during examinations.
The second link, below, spells out procedures widely adopted across the university that seek to minimize the potential for and impact of academic dishonesty. The third link lays out information on what do do if academic dishonesty is suspected.