An ongoing battle – 3 ways to combat online exam cheating
An unfortunate reality of school testing is that there have always been students that take it upon themselves to cheat on their examinations. From using invisible ink (not as smart an idea as one may think) to writing answers into the inseams of their clothing, educators have seen it all. As the education industry has evolved, so have the cheating attempts and methods. Whether unfair or not, students have found themselves on the receiving end of the disciplinary consequences that come with being found guilty of cheating.
With online education becoming more popular by the day, there has been a renewed sense of panic among educators at all the new innovative ways that students can cheat on their online examinations. Luckily, technology has also made it easier to monitor students as they sit their examinations, making it easier than perhaps expected to see what they are doing. Education technology has proven to be revolutionary for the education industry – for both educators and students.
- Google-proof your questions
This may sound like an obvious one, but so often teachers and professors alike write their questions, double check them for errors, and simply post them to the test and let the students go from there.
What often happens is that educators that adhere to this method find, on the first page of Google, a question that is like their own or nearly the exact same one. The obvious drawback to this is that if they can Google their question and find the answer in a matter of seconds, so can their students. Google-proofing questions is a fantastic way to combat online exam cheating.
- Time limitations & order randomisation
There is a misconception that it is easier to cheat on online exams than it is in class. While students sometimes do feel it is easier to cheat online, the reality is that if you set a time limitation for the exam, they have less time to mess around trying to find the right answers online, making it in fact more difficult to cheat and have it pay off.
Additionally, it is hard for students to cheat online when the questions are entirely randomised, making them different to the content they learned in class. For example, the questions that directly correlate to the content in weeks 1-12, should not be set in chronological order of when the students learnt the content. Complete randomisation requires forethought and critical thinking on the students’ part.
- Proctoring services
One of the most brilliant combatants for online exam cheating among students is the introduction of proctoring services. New technologies have been emerging and gaining traction over the last few years, making them the perfect anti-cheating processes to use in the battle against online exam cheating.
In short, proctoring services essentially function by tracking mouse clicks and keystrokes of students, as well as screen sharing and webcam surveillance during examination times. Having a camera watch you, and having software tracking your movements online, not only is effective in its nature but it instils a sense of responsibility among students, driving them to be more honest even when they feel tempted to cheat.