4 Tips for protecting the security of intellectual property

Headshot JulieThe integrity of your tests and test questions is integral to upholding your reputation and standards, as Questionmark Chairman John Kleeman points out in his post: It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.

I have put together four tips to help ensure the security of your intellectual property. To find out more about deploying assessments safely, securely and successfully you can download this complimentary white paper: Delivering Assessments Safely and Securely.

1) Create and administer multiple test forms: Rather than having only one form of the assessment being administered, deliver multiple forms of the same exam to help limit item exposure. If one exam form is breached, the other exam forms can stay in circulation.

2) Restrict and control administration of beta test items: Beta testing questions is an important part of high-stakes assessment, ensuring the psychometric quality of questions before they appear on actual assessments. However, it is important to have a well conceptualized beta test model that limits the exposure of newly developed questions to participants. Beta test questions must be administered in secure environments, in similar conditions to the actual exam. This prevents the exposure of new questions before they appear on an actual assessment. Some rejected beta test questions could be considered for use in exam prep materials.

3) Update exam forms periodically: Letting exam forms become stale can over-expose questions to participants, increasing the likelihood of IP theft. Periodically updating exam forms (e.g., annually) can help limit the exposure of questions. Consider retiring old exam forms and turning them into exam prep materials that can be sold to participants.

4) Produce exam prep materials: Making exam prep materials available to participants before an assessment helps dissuade participants from trying to obtain exam questions via illegal means as they will have access to the type of questions that will be asked on the actual assessment.

Tips for preventing cheating and ensuring assessment security

julie-smallPosted by Julie Chazyn

Last week I wrote about tips for protecting  intellectual property.  It’s equally important keep people from cheating on tests, so here are three pointers on that subject.  I’ll be following this up with more tips in future posts.  Leave me your comments; we can always add to lists like these!

.Screening tests

Consider givinig a small pre-screening test to prevent people from taking an assessment that is beyond their current ability level. If a participant can‘t answer a certain number of these questions correctly they will not be allowed to see the remainder of the assessment. When the time does come for them to take the test,  they will not have already seen its content.

Candidate agreements

Candidate agreements or examination honor codes require  a participant’s agreement before they start an assessment, say by clicking on an “OK “ or  “Yes” button after reading the exam’s code of conduct.

The code might say something like this:  “I agree to answer the questions on this assessment without obtaining assistance from another person or via electronic means. I agree to not to share my answers with anyone during or after the exam. I further agree to not memorize or otherwise steal the intellectual property contained in this exam. I accept that if any of these conditions are violated, my exam results will be set to a zero, I will not be able to retake the exam for a period of 10 years, and I may be charged with a crime under regional laws.”

Here are some topics you might want to cover in a candidate agreement:

  • The test vendor will have the option to terminate the assessment if suspicious behavior is detected
  • The candidate must abide by the rules of the test center, organization, or program
  • The candidate will not provide false ID or false papers
  • The candidate cannot take the test on behalf of someone else
  • The candidate will not engage in cheating in any form
  • The candidate will not help others cheat by disclosing information about the assessment
  • The candidate will not use aids that are not allowed
  • The candidate will not solicit someone else to take the test
  • The candidate will not cause a disturbance in the testing center
  • The candidate will not tamper with the test center in any way
  • The candidate will not share information

Limiting content exposure/leakage

In order to limit the amount of question content being shown to a participant at any given time, think about using question-by-question templates. These present questions one at a time to participants so that exam content is not completely exposed on screen. Participants who may intend to take pictures of the exam content or otherwise steal intellectual property will not be able to do so all at once.

There are many fine resources for learning how to prevent cheating. Two of thes are books by Dr. Gregory Cizek:  Cheating on Tests: How to Do It, Detect It and Prevent It and Detecting and Preventing Classroom Cheating: Promoting Integrity in Assessment.

There’s also our white paper: “Delivering  Assessments Safely and Securely,” and of course this blog! Watch for more security tips in my future posts.

4 Tips to Help Ensure the Security of Intellectual Property

julie-smallPosted by Julie Chazyn

Protecting the intellectual property contained in a test or exam is essential, not only because of the time, effort and cost of creating assessments but also because IP theft undermines the accurate measurement of knowledge and skills.

Protecting intellectual property protects the credibility of tests. Here are four tips for helping to ensure the security of intellectual property:

Create and administer multiple test forms

Rather than having only one form of the assessment being administered, delivering multiple forms of the same exam can help limit item exposure. This method also allows for the possibility of interspersing large-scale integrated beta test questions within the forms to collect psychometric information on newly developed questions.

Restrict and control administration of beta test items

Beta testing questions is an important part of high-stakes assessment, ensuring the psychometric quality of questions before they appear on actual assessments. However, it is vital that a well conceptualized beta test model is in effect to limit the exposure of newly developed questions to participants.

Update exam forms periodically

Letting exam forms become stale can over-expose questions to participants, increasing the likelihood of IP theft. An organization could consider retiring old exam forms and turning them into exam prep materials that can be sold to participants. In this way, participants could periodically expect new practice questions.

Produce exam prep materials

Organizations should consider making exam prep materials available to participants before an assessment. This will help reduce the demand for participants to try to obtain exam questions via illegal means as they will have access to the type of questions that will be asked on the actual assessment.

For more details on this subject, plust information about various means for deploying a wide range of assessment types with assurance, download our White Paper: Delivering Assessments Safely and Securely.

Peer Discussion – Hot Topics in Assessment

 

Posted By Sarah ElkinsYU7U6622_JPG

During the recent Questionmark European Users Conference in Manchester, Stefanie Moerbeek, Senior Coordinator for Examination Development at EXIN, and Greg Pope, Questionmark’s Analytics and Psychometrics Manager, facilitated a best practice session that gave delegates the opportunity to participate in a peer discussion on Hot Topics in the Assessment Industry.

Stefanie and Greg join me in this podcast to share the outcomes of this session and provide an overview of topics such as beta testing questions, using randomization within examinations and dealing with intellectual property theft of exams.