Preventing Cheating During Online Exams

Online testing is growing rapidly in schools across North America. The appeal is obvious: tests are graded automatically, the feedback is immediate, and it allows for better analytics at the school and district levels.

But a common concern of teachers is how to prevent students from cheating during online exams. Students are one click away from searching the Internet for answers. And they often sit shoulder to shoulder with other students, making wandering eyes a problem.

The following tips will help you control cheating during online testing in classrooms or proctored labs. (Different techniques are used for online tests taken in non-proctored settings, such as from home.)

  • Offer shorter, more frequent quizzes so students keep up on their classwork. This also reduces the incentive to cheat because the value of each quiz is lower than a major, comprehensive exam.
  • Randomize the order of exam questions and answer choices. Or, have questions randomly selected from a larger pool of questions. These are basic features of most assessment systems, and their implementation will deter students from looking at someone else’s screen.
  • Remind students before each quiz or test that no phones or similar devices should be within their reach, such as on their desks or in their pockets. Frequent reminders tell students you take cheating seriously, without saying the words themselves.
  • If your school has an honor code, present it to students prior to each exam. Research shows this is a powerful method for deterring cheating.
  • Require students to use a “lockdown” browser for online exams. This will prevent Internet searches, accessing notes or other applications on the computer, or copying the exam questions themselves, among other things.
  • Apply a password to the online exam and verbally provide students the password just prior to the start. This prevents someone from accessing the exam outside of the presence of the teacher or proctor.
  • If many students will be taking the exam from the same location, consider using an “IP address restriction” to prevent someone at a different location from accessing the exam. This is a common capability with most assessment systems.

It’s important to establish a culture of honesty early in a classroom or course. If students become aware that classmates are cheating (such as using Google to look up answers during an online test) and that those students are getting away with it, then cheating will quickly spread across the class. By contrast, if the instructor has openly explained that cheating is unacceptable, and has created an environment where cheating is difficult to achieve, students are much less likely to attempt this behavior.

 

About the Sponsor

 

Want to take the next step to prevent cheating during online tests? LockDown Browser, developed by Respondus, integrates with K-12 learning systems including Canvas, Blackboard Learn, Schoology, Moodle, and Brightspace. Want to learn more or start a free 2-month trial? Visit www.respondus.com/lockdown

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