My previous post offered three tips on making your assessments more secure and preventing cheating. Here are four more. You will find additional information about this in “Delivering Assessments Safely and Securely,” and I’ll be mentioning other security tips in my future posts. I hope you will respond with your own ideas about avoiding the problem of cheating on tests.
Screening participants who achieve perfect scores
Given the rarity of achieving perfect scores on assessments, consider doing some investigating when you see perfect scores. Many organizations do this automatically. This might interview the exam proctor and do other checks to ensure no suspicious behavior has occurred.
Verifying expected IP addresses
If you are administering an assessment at a specific location, you will likely be able to obtain the IP address of the computer being used. You can then tell whether participants took the assessment there or at an unauthorized location.
Using Trojan horse or stealth items
Use Trojan horse or stealth items to help detect whether a participant has memorized the answer key. Stealth items look just like the other questions, but they are purposely keyed incorrectly. You can include these items are generally included as non-scored items on the assessment. They will help you detect if a participant is simply memorizing content and keyed correct answers, since they will likely choose alternatives that they have memorized. Participants with overall reasonable assessment scores who got the stealth items “correct” might have memorized the answer key.
Reveal that cheater prevention tactics are used
Informing participants that reviews are regularly conducted to identify cheaters is a simple way to decrease the temptation to cheat. You don’t need to provide details about the sort of reviews you conduct, but do let participants know that cheater-detection tactics are regularly employed.