Strategies for Reducing Cheating with Online Assessments

From eLearning Wiki

While no solution is foolproof when it comes to cheating, there are steps you can take to make it more difficult when offering online assessments through the Tests & Quizzes tool.

Randomizing the order of questions

When question randomization is enabled, Isidore displays questions in a different order for each student.

To randomize question order:

  1. Navigate to the Tests & Quizzes tool in your Isidore site.
  2. Click on the “Select Action” menu next to the assessment and select “Edit”.
  3. Locate the part of the assessment (i.e. Part 1) and click on the “Edit” link to the right of it.
    Edit Part Button

  4. Scroll down to the “Question Ordering” section and select “Random within Part”. Click on “Save” at the bottom of the page.
  5. If your assessment contains more than one part, you’ll need to make this change to each part if you would like the questions to appear in a random order.
    Random within Part option

Randomizing answer choices

Not only can you randomize questions, but you can also randomize answer choice options in multiple choice questions. If this setting is enabled, Isidore displays answer choices in a different order for each student. Please note that this option should not be used with questions that have “none of the above” or “all of the above” as options.

To randomize answer choice options:

  1. Navigate to the Tests & Quizzes tool in your Isidore site.
  2. Click on the “Select Action” menu next to the assessment and select “Edit”.
  3. Locate a multiple choice question and click on the “Edit” link next to it.
  4. Scroll down to the “Randomize Answers” option and select the radio button next to “Yes”. Scroll down and click on “Save”. You’ll need to make this change to every multiple choice question you would like to randomize.

Setting a time limit

Enabling a time limit is considered a deterrent to cheating because students have a fixed amount of time to complete the assessment and aren’t as tempted to spend time looking up answers or recording the test content.

To enable a time limit:

  1. Navigate to the Tests & Quizzes tool in your Isidore site.
  2. Click on the “Select Action” menu next to the assessment and click on “Settings”.
  3. Click on the “Availability and Submissions” tab.
  4. Under the “Do you want this assessment to have a time limit?”, toggle the “No” option to “Yes” and choose the correct number of hours and/or minutes. Scroll down and click on “Save & Exit”.
    Time Limit Setting

Only displaying one question per page

The default layout setting in Tests & Quizzes is to display one question per page. This setting prevents students from capturing all questions in an exam at once.

To access the one question per page setting:

  1. Navigate to the Tests & Quizzes tool in your Isidore site.
  2. Click on the “Select Action” menu next to the assessment and click on “Settings”.
  3. Click on the “Layout” tab.
  4. Under the “How any questions should be displayed per page?”, select the radio button next to “One question per page (Recommended). Scroll down and click on “Save & Exit”.
    Question Per Page Setting

Use question pools

Instructors can build question pools in their assessments to ensure that each student receives a different set of questions (ex: each student randomly gets 10 of 20 question pool). This is a more advanced feature and requires more questions to be constructed by the instructor, but you can easily set Isidore up to give each student a random subset of those questions.

Please see our full guide and video for creating question pools.

Deliver group-specific exams

Sometimes, you may have a test that requires a specific sequence of questions that cannot be randomized. If this is the case, you can set up two different exams that have similar, but slightly different variations of those sequenced questions. Then, use the feature in Isidore to randomly divide your students into separate groups. Release one version of the test to one group, release the other version of the test to the other group.

Hide feedback until after the due date

Instructors can hide a student’s overall score, their ability to see the correct answers, and even review the questions they answered on an assessment after they submit their assessment until after the due date/time.

This prevents a student from taking a test and then sharing the correct answers with their classmates while the assessment window is still open.

Limit access to a specific time window

Instructors can limit how long a test is available to a class. While it’s generally not a great idea to be very rigid with your time windows (ex: 10-11 AM on Tuesday only), it’s also not a great idea for exams to be available for extremely long periods of time if you’re worried about cheating. Think about selecting a 1-3 day time period for your students to take an assessment (while also setting a time limit). This gives them some flexibility to take it when it best fits their schedule, but also doesn’t keep it open for such a long period of time that sharing answers becomes extremely easy for a class.

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