Simple Strategies to increase the effectiveness and reduce cheating during an Online Examination.
With the end of every academic term, an academic institution carries on with numerous exams and cumulative assessments to test a student’s knowledge of course materials. Sometimes it proves to be a nightmare for most of the institutions in administering the examination in order to protect the academic integrity and sanctity of it. India holds an important place in the global education industry and has one of the largest networks of higher education institutions in the world. The aim of the Government to raise its current gross enrolment ratio to 30 per cent by 2020 will also boost the growth of distance education in India. That number will expeditiously increase and so will the need for administering exams within the online learning environment. Many instructors are hesitant to include exams within their online courses because of the potential of compromising academic integrity. Virtual live proctoring technologies may be too expensive and not part of the instructor’s institution’s distance education infrastructure. Additionally, having students take exams under the eye of an online proctor may negatively impact student success on the exam.
But even without expensive virtual proctoring tools, there are many ways that instructors can leverage the inherent features within their institution’s Learning Management System (LMS) to decrease cheating during online examinations. Here are 10 ways to do so:
Be creative and create questions that require higher-order of thinking. Rather than creating questions that can be answered by a simple web search or even by finding them in their textbooks, create questions that are on the analysis, synthesis, and evaluation levels. It will be more challenging to ask a friend or “Google” the answer when the questions require students to explain, analyze, evaluate, and authentically demonstrate their hold and mastery of the course content.
Use various forms and types of Questions. Open yourself to a wide variety of questions rather than conducting an exam with only multiple-choice or true and false questions. Create open-ended questions that will make it more difficult for students to give the same response as their friends, and students would be forced to explain their responses using their supporting narratives that are unique to their own understanding of the course materials.
Creatively remind students of academic integrity policies and let them sign. An institution can create and post a video explaining the guidelines for the online exam and review the institution’s academic integrity policy and consequences in case of violation. Let them electronically sign a contract that lists what the university considers cheating. There may be some psychological impact on students after seeing and hearing their instructor discuss academic integrity right before an exam begins, which may deter students who were thinking about cheating.
Restrict the testing window and time slot. Just like how on-campus final exams have a designated testing slot for each course, create the same replica of the process for online examination. Have every student start the exam around the same time and limit how long each student will have to take the exam. Even though the online exam will be “open book” by default—since there is no one watching the students take the exam—it is important to provide a student just enough amount of time that who knows the information would have the appropriate amount of time to be successful on the exam, and not too much time for students who have not prepared for the exam to search for the answers.
Set-up the exam to show one question at a time. Create a test setting that only allows one question to appear on the screen at a time to avoid students quickly looking over all of the test questions and find their answer in advance. This will also restrict them in a strict time frame and prohibit them from using unfair means. On top of it, backtracking of questions can also be restricted so that a student can answer a question with the final answer and then move to the next question. This will force them to answer the question according to their best-learned knowledge.
Changing the question sequence for each test and for every set. A teacher can be creative in this section also by changing the order of the question in every set of the test and by changing the order of answer choices for each test question. This will create an extra level of toughness for the student who wants to cheat. A teacher can plan different versions of the same question set to avoid cheating among student reside in the same geographical space.
Allow for only taking the test once. As there is no chance to retake an on-campus exam, the same practise should be followed for exams that are taken online.
Delay score availability. Set a later date after the testing window ends. This way, one student who finishes early cannot see their score and then advise students who have not completed the test yet.
Protect test question answers. If students request to review their exam, only show them the questions they answered incorrectly. This will limit students from being able to copy and download all of the exam questions for the next group of students who take your course examination.
A small video conferencing. In case of any contradiction over student marks or suspicion over any student’s approach, a teacher can conduct a small question-answer session over a video conferencing to check the knowledge base of student and Genuity of the student’s exam.
According to a report by Economic Times, “With double-digit economic growth demanding a sustained supply of knowledge workers, India has emerged as one of the world’s largest consumer of education services with a target population of more than 445 million (between the age group of 5-24 years), which is expected to increase to approximately 486 million by 2025, far exceeding the combined target population in China (354 million) and the US (91 million) in the same year. With this, there comes a huge responsibility on the shoulders of teachers and ERP providers to create, facilitate and help deliver and inculcate quality education. The assessment test is a crucial part of any education system and we all know that there is a huge gap in creating and conducting a reliable online exam not forgetting to maintain the sanctity of the examination itself. A precisely designed Learning Management system (LMS) like ours EDRP along with the creativity of a teacher can bridge the gap of conducting a credible online examination.