Life isn’t fair. Some people are intelligent, some aren’t. The former category tends to do very well in exams, focusing on revision and expanding their knowledge of relevant subjects in their spare time. Many in the latter drift into cheating and even fraud.
Examiners have to take steps to prevent cheats from succeeding, as cheating can give otherwise hopeless individuals a shot at competing with hardworking people for jobs, which is, for obvious reasons, unfair.
Nothing in life is free, and nothing comes without hard work. Here are some key facts examiners should know about stopping exam cheats.
Remote proctoring is a type of online exam invigilation, used to deter and identify cheaters. Many different proctoring programs exist, with Inspera smarter proctoring being one of the most popular. Its developers say that it helps educators to get a more accurate idea of their students’ knowledge of the subjects they are being tested in. Usually proctoring is supervised by a human being, however, sometimes AI algorithms are used. The purpose of remote proctoring is to maintain an exam’s integrity, preventing lazy and criminal individuals from taking advantage of the system and cheating.
When it comes to exams, cheaters can be very creative. One of the most common ways students cheat on online exams is by paying more knowledgeable individuals to sit exams for them, impersonating them. Proctoring software prevents students from being able to do this because they are required to verify their identities by showing a copy of their student ID. After the exam is concluded if it is being supervised by an AI algorithm, their teacher or professor will go through each student’s verification video, making sure they are who they are supposed to be.
Some other common methods of cheating employed by students that can be detected and prevented by proctoring software include:
- Screen sharing/mirroring
- Using microphones to get answers
- Using internet search engines
- Storing answers on external devices or paper
- Presence of family in the room
- Logging out of the test window
Proctoring software has some very useful features. Invigilators can use this kind of software to verify the identity of those taking exams; monitor the screens of students; watch them via camera while they are taking their exams and listen to them over their audio connections. These features make it easier than ever for invigilators to identify students who are taking advantage of the online examination process, catching them in the act of cheating.
If you are an invigilator, an educator, or are responsible for your school or college’s software it is important that you find the highest-quality program that you can. Software is in a constant state of flux, being developed, redeveloped, and retuned all of the time. You need to source the best program you can for your employer so that you can completely root out cheats. Some students have found ways to exploit and get around older proctoring software, so you need the latest and best.
Integrating proctoring software into your school or college’s examination system will take some adjustment, on the parts of students and teachers. Familiarising oneself with this software can take a little while. You should spend some time teaching students and staff about how it works and explaining its rules to them. Students in particular need to learn about the rules of using this kind of software as incorrect usage could result in them being kicked out of exams or accused of cheating, even if they haven’t done anything wrong.
While it is possible to have an AI algorithm supervise students during their exams, experts say it’s better to have a human supervising them. AI algorithms are not perfect and can therefore miss obvious signs of cheating. Human supervision will prevent students from getting away with deception. You may need two or more invigilators present to supervise an entire exam, as there could be tens of students participating. Unless there are enough people to watch all of them there is a chance that cheaters could go undetected, flying under the radar and not drawing attention to themselves.
Even if you do employ human invigilators after an exam has been concluded it’s a good idea to go back through all of the footage that has been collected so that you can look for signs of cheating. Reviewing footage will help you to pick up on anything that was missed during the exam itself. The good thing about footage reviews is that you do not need a large team of people to conduct them, one or two people can quite comfortably handle them. Reviewers need to be trained in spotting the signs of cheating and deception.
Sometimes, proctoring software will eject students and then not let them back in to complete their exams. If this happens, students could not be able to take their exams again until the next session, whenever that is. To safeguard against this have backup exams ready for students to take. Preparing and providing backup exams will ensure that students are able to continue with their examinations even if the proctoring software you are using locks them out. Make sure the backup exam is more or less exactly the same as the one they were supposed to be taking, just with a few alterations to the questions.
Expert invigilators say that one of the best ways to deter cheating is to give students different versions of the same exam. It’s sadly common for students to buy answer sheets, which they then copy when they are completing their exams. By providing different versions of an exam to students you can prevent them from being able to read the answers off of sheets, as if the questions are presented differently they will not be able to accurately copy them. Preparing these kinds of papers can take time but is a very good idea and a great deterrent to cheating. Obstructing and blocking cheaters should be one of your main priorities as an educator. Cheats ruin the examination and even the educational experience for everybody.
Cheating in exams is sadly very common. The individuals who cheat tend more often than not to be lazy and unprepared. Preventing and deterring cheating makes examinations fairer for everybody involved. Nobody should be able to succeed in life by cheating. Proctoring can prevent such individuals from getting away with their crimes undetected. Cheaters who go on to live successful lives as a result of their deceptions are no better than common thieves.