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Is Cheating On the Rise With Online Education and Testing?

Both online testing and online education have been around for more than a decade and a half. Cheating in tests and exams has been a reality for much longer. However, the debate about whether online testing and education increase the percentage of cheating, and the propensity to cheat, is now critical. The COVID-19 pandemic forced schools and colleges across the world to move online. What had once been a choice, now became a necessity. And the spotlight on online cheating became one that could not be turned off or ignored. 

Here’s an actual scenario — in a well-known mid-Atlantic university, one of the people who logged on to take a pre-med chemistry exam, wasn’t the actual student. He was a paid imposter. When Proctors reviewed video recordings, it was discovered that this same person had taken tests for at least a dozen different students, in seven universities across the United States. Troubling? Yes. A rare occurrence? No. 

When it comes to schoolchildren, the situation becomes much more problematic. There is brazen deception. Then there are cases where youngsters receive inappropriate “assistance” from their parents, siblings, or others. *Curriculum Associates,  * Curriculum Associates, a supplier of online courses and exams to more than eight million elementary and middle-school students nationally, examined diagnostic testing data and discovered that distant students at all grade levels outperformed students in prior years in reading. Some age groups also performed better in math.

*The organization’s vice president of assessment and research, Kristen Huff, said she can only make educated guesses as to what may be behind the higher assessment results. If kids receive further assistance, she explained, “We don’t want to label it cheating because we don’t think the adults or older siblings who are assisting mean to do something illegal.”

Direct Ratio of Increase Between Number of Online Tests & Rise in Cheating Percentage

The facts are in and they indicate a direct link between increased online testing and the rise in cheating.

  • ProctorU, a company that provides remote proctoring, said cheating rates rose to above 8% from April through June of 2020, and the number of proctored exams jumped to 1.3 million. Pre-pandemic, ProctorU caught people cheating on fewer than 1 percent of the 340,000 exams it administered.
  • According to a Wiley poll performed in May 2020, 93% of teachers believe that students are more likely to cheat online than in person.
  • The College Board, which oversees the AP examinations, modified these assessments to be “open book,” but without proctoring, when they were relocated online. According to reports, students communicated privately using apps to work on solutions. College Board representatives canceled their registrations after tweeting about “a ring of students who were formulating preparations to cheat.

How Can Testing Security Help Prevent Online Cheating?

We believe that online testing and education will be around for a long time. That brings us to the million-dollar question: how might security testing help?

Experts recommend the following five measures to identify and prevent online cheating

  1. Browser Security: Secure browser technology prevents students from using other browsers during the exam. Students can only access the exam window.
  2. Remote Proctoring: Widely used to prevent cheating and includes four main security measures:
    a. Image Capturing: The system takes photos of the candidates taking the test at regular intervals (e.g. 30 seconds).
    b. Screen Capturing: Proctor captures screenshots on a regular basis and monitors to prevent unwanted activity.
    c. Video Streaming: The proctor can watch and monitor students in real time via their webcam.
  3. Data Encryption: High-level encryption algorithms are used to encode test data. This ensures the confidentiality of the test questions and assures the security of the test.
  4. Audit Login: Audit logins are a security feature through which activities like login, logout, exam access, question navigation, and answer responses are recorded in the system. All of which help catch and prevent cheating.
  5. IP-Based Authorization and Authentication: IP-based authorization and authentication ensure that the access and operating of the examination program is restricted to a specified number of IP addresses. This helps ensure the integrity and security of the exam. The five test security measures listed above are some of the key methodologies being used to prevent cheating online. However, the police will only go so far. As with everything else pertaining to human civilization, inculcating honesty and integrity in our children and young adults are the best security measures we have.

Content Team

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