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Security in Online Exams: Academic Dishonesty


The rise of online education, accelerated by COVID-19, underscores the need to address academic dishonesty in online exams. While these exams offer convenience, reduced costs, and quick feedback, they also invite cheating, causing trust issues in certifications and institutional credibility. Creating secure exam settings is crucial to combat this issue and ensure fair and reliable assessments.

During the I-HE2023 conference in Istanbul (04 - 06 October) Belgin Boz Yüksekdağ (Anadolu University) explored academic dishonesty in online exams, emphasizing the importance of secure environments and technological methods to uphold integrity and fairness in assessments.

Good practices

A few good practices can be extracted from her paper in the Conference Proceedings. These include:

  1. Understanding Root Causes:

    • Identify internal and external pressures leading to academic dishonesty (e.g., fear of failure, desire for better grades, external influences).
  2. Consideration of Learner Characteristics:

    • Assess the impact of personality traits (e.g., conscientiousness, emotional stability, agreeableness, and openness to experience) on the likelihood of cheating.
  3. Methods of Academic Dishonesty:

    • Recognize the various forms of cheating (e.g., using online resources, impersonation, sharing information) to effectively address and prevent them.
  4. Identity Verification:

    • Implement multi-factor authentication mechanisms (biometrics, facial recognition, keystroke dynamics) to verify the identity of test-takers.
  5. Continuous Monitoring:

    • Employ real-time monitoring tools (live remote proctoring, background audio checks, browser lockdowns) to oversee examinees during the entire exam duration.
  6. Academic Dishonesty Mitigation Plan (ADMP):

    • Develop a comprehensive plan that combines prevention and detection strategies based on a thorough understanding of various forms of dishonesty.
  7. Preventive Strategies:

    • Prioritize prevention through proactive planning before the assessment begins, identifying potential threats, and assessing their probability and impact.
  8. Conceptual Mapping for Prevention:

    • Create a concept map to link different types of dishonesty with corresponding prevention strategies for better understanding and implementation.

Additional Considerations

  • Research and Development: Encourage ongoing research to improve existing strategies and develop new techniques for preventing academic dishonesty in online exams.

  • Policy and Framework Support: Supplement technological measures with clear policies and frameworks that outline the proper setup and guidelines for online exams.

  • Accessibility and Usability: Ensure that the implemented security measures are user-friendly and accessible for all examinees without hindering the exam process.

By incorporating these practices and continuously evolving strategies, educational institutions can significantly mitigate academic dishonesty in online assessments while ensuring the integrity and credibility of the examination process.

Read the full paper by Belgin Boz Yüksekdağ
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