Updated August 5, 2020 – Online assessments provide a flexible and efficient alternative to the traditional classroom assessment, but they can pose serious challenges. Ever since they became an option, educators have weighed the pros and cons. The flexibility is great for students, and it helps free up classroom time for teaching, but online proctored exams can be full of pitfalls if you’re not prepared.
How do you continue to grow your online course offering while preserving your institution’s academic integrity and prevent cheating? Start by correcting these five common mistakes:
1. Not Verifying Student Identity
When a student logs in for an exam, the first step is to ensure their identity. Are you making sure that the student is taking their own exam? How can you do this in a remote proctoring context? The best way is to use the webcam to capture an image of both the student and their photo ID. Once you know that the two are a match, the student can move forward with the exam, and you can know that the answers on the assessment are from the correct student.
2. Not Detecting and Preventing Mobile Phones
Most of today’s students have a plethora of ways to access the internet. Cell phones, tablets, and multiple computers create a huge obstacle for online assessments. How do you make sure that students aren’t accessing test bank sites for answers during their exam? Unless your proctoring solution is equipped with technology to detect external devices and alert the proctor, you can’t know for sure that exams are an accurate reflection of a student’s knowledge. Your students need to know that their external device use will be monitored and that, if they attempt to access unauthorized content, it will be detected and penalized according to their school’s Honor Code of Conduct.
3. Not Checking for Notes, Friends, and Other Sources of Help
While online exams give students flexibility, the freedom to take an assessment anytime, anywhere opens the possibility that students will access illicit resources for answers during the exam. A student may ask a knowledgeable friend to join them in the room and help with answers, or they may have a textbook or notes on the desk with them. Is your online proctoring system equipped to detect and prevent this kind of academic dishonesty? A good place to start is to use a system that has the student scan the room with their webcam before beginning. This ensures that the student is alone in the room and doesn’t have resources on their desk. In addition, technology that detects when a student stands up, leaves the room, or diverts their eyes from the screen helps make sure the student stays on track. Exam proctoring solutions also need to block access to other browser windows, new tabs, and applications that students might use to access answers.
4. Not Monitoring in Real Time
For some online proctoring services, offering on-demand services means sacrificing real-time monitoring. Are you relying on a record and review model? While it can help identify incidences of academic dishonesty, the only solution these systems provide is to penalize the student after the fact. By providing real-time monitoring, you can prevent cheating before it ever happens. Proctors can intervene, interrupt any issues, and help students get back on track in the moment to help improve academic outcomes.
5. Watching the Entire Exam Live
While real-time monitoring is vital, live proctoring can create added stress and anxiety for students—especially those who are honest. Do your students feel as though they’re being watched throughout the entire exam? If so, their performance may be suffering as a result. In addition, live proctoring requires students to carefully schedule their exam timeslots and may even charge them if their plans change at the last minute. Live proctors also usually watch several students and exams at the same time, so there’s a higher possibility that they’ll miss an indicator of cheating. Using AI technology to monitor the exam and alert proctors to potential issues provides more flexibility and relief while still maintaining integrity.
You need a solution that will let you provide the best in technology and flexibility while protecting your program’s reputation and integrity. You want to know that your assessments are an accurate reflection of what your students actually know without adding stress or frustration to the process. These five mistakes are a great place to start. Honorlock can help you correct these pitfalls and more as you expand your online education options. Request a demo today to learn how.