Ways to Identify or Reduce Cheating in Online Assessment Paper

10. The authors of your textbook discuss the common methods that students cheat on an online assessment. Describe each method and ways that cheating can be reduced. Confine your answer to one page.

No Plagiarism


Waugh, C. K & Gronlund, N. E. (2013). Assessment of student achievement (10th ed).

Boston: Pearson.

Helpful info from book:

Ways to Identify or Reduce Cheating in Online Assessment

Can teachers trust the results of an online assessment? In the absence of safeguards and methods to deter student cheating, often teachers cannot fully trust the results from all students. Of course, not all students will take the opportunity to cheat—many will not. But studies have shown that the prevalence of cheating has grown over the years, particularly on assessments administered online.

Can cheating be prevented? Perhaps it can’t in all instances and with all students. But Cizek (1999) provides several suggestions later adapted by Rowe (2004) that may prove helpful to deter cheating on online assessments. These suggestions are discussed below.

Establish an Honor Policy

Typically, schools and universities have an established honor code addressing cheating and other forms of academic dishonesty that each student is required to follow. These codes explain to the student the conduct that is expected and the consequences of violating the code. However, these codes may have been presented to students only upon entry into the education institution and, therefore, can easily become less effective in deterring cheating over time. At the beginning of each course, the teacher should require students to reread the existing honor code, or they should develop their own code, and have students sign that they pledge to comply.

Continuously Monitor the Typical Performance of Each Student

In this chapter we have discussed the importance of including the frequent use of multiple types of synchronous and asynchronous assessments throughoutan online course. The use of achievement tests, oral presentations, threaded discussions, and portfolio artifacts provide the means to determine the overall performance level that is typical for each student. Having a wealth of assessment evidence allows teachers the ability to identify performance that seems atypical for a student, given his or her prior performance. For instance, use of sentence structure and terminology that is much more advanced than those a student has presented in earlier written assignments is a clue that he or she may have plagiarized earlier published work. However, it is important that the teacher do not jump immediately to the conclusion that cheating has occurred. The teacher should investigate further by discussing the concerns with the student and gathering additional evidence to determine whether actual cheating has occurred.

Keep Assessment Materials and Grades Secure

Online learning management systems provide a layer of password security. Both students and teachers must submit a personalized password to gain access to the course content. The teacher can also gain access to the achievement tests and scoring rubrics that will be used during the course, and an electronic grade book used to record student grades, among other sensitive materials. For obvious reasons, the teacher’s password should be difficult for students to guess. Further, intrusion-detection software should be used to reveal attacks or help prevent attacks before they occur. As an added measure of protection, the teacher should keep duplicate copies of assessment materials and student grades in a secure location other than the computer server housing the course just in case the server is compromised.

Proctor Achievement Tests

Earlier in Box 10.1, we presented the common methods that students use to cheat on unproctored online achievement tests. Knowing the potential for cheating, many education institutions have entered into contractual agreements with public libraries, high schools, community colleges, universities, and private organizations across the country to provide a place where students can go in their local area to complete an online assessment in a secure, proctored, and monitored environment. These proctors ensure that students complete the assessment at a designated time, without the assistance of others, and without the use of materials not authorized by the instructor. Further, the proctor can verify the identity of the student before the assessment begins.

Administer Alternative Versions of the Achievement Test

Finally, the teacher should consider varying the order of questions on the exam or randomly selecting test items from a pool of items so that all students do not receive the same test items on the exam. However, if the teacher chooses to randomly select items from a pool, then it is important that the varying versions of the tests be balanced in the number of items relating to each learning outcome. Also, each version should have acceptable reliability and should be equal in item difficulty and discriminating power. At a minimum, the teacher should follow the procedures discussed in Chapters 4 and 5 to (1) develop a table of specifications that lists the number of test items in the pool that relate to each learning outcome, (2) establish the equivalent-forms reliability of the alternative versions, and (3) conduct a simple item analysis to ensure that, on average, the versions of the test are essentially equal in levels of difficulty and ability to discriminate between high-performing and low-performing students.