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Where Do Online Students Think It Is the Easiest To Cheat?

Contributed by:
Dr. Mac Adkins
President, Smarter Services

Where Do Online Students Think It Is the Easiest To Cheat?

The results are in from the 2015 Proctoring and Learner Authentication Survey.  The survey measured perceptions of issues regarding academic integrity.  Responses were received from 284 persons representing these stakeholder groups: Test Center Administrators (36%), Faculty (19%), School Leaders (19%), Proctors (17%), and Students (9%).  Results of the survey are available at http://www.slideshare.net/socialsmarterservices/test-your-proctoring-prowess-51822339

Faculty and students were asked which proctoring modality was perceived as the strongest psychological deterrent to cheating.  Congruent with the maxim, “If you want something done right, do it yourself,” faculty reported that their perception was when they proctored the exam themselves as the proctoring mode, that is the highest deterrent to cheating.  This was followed by an approved human proctor and then a local test center.  Faculty perceived non-live virtual proctoring as the weakest deterrent to cheating.  Students reported that the instructor as proctor and an approved human proctor are the strongest psychological deterrents.  Students also reported non-live virtual proctoring as the weakest psychological deterrent.  Students were also asked to rank proctoring modalities by their perception of difficulty to cheat.  Students perceived it the easiest to cheat during virtual proctoring and the most difficult with an approved human proctor.  This is likely due to physical proximity and clear/constant line of sight.

Faculty and school leaders reported that the most common proctoring modality was an approved human proctor, followed by instructor proctored and then virtual proctoring.  The most common form of learner authentication was username/password, followed by photo ID scanning and then security questions.   Faculty reported that they were most satisfied when they proctored the exam themselves and least satisfied when they used a library.  Higher levels of satisfaction were also reported with an approved human proctor and local test centers.

Students reported that their preferred modality of proctoring was at a local test center.  This is likely due to the fact that the service is often provided at no cost to the student.  Next, students preferred virtual proctoring due to convenience, followed by a professional testing center or approved human proctor.  A majority (67%) of faculty reported that issues related to testing integrity were a moderate to high threat to the reputation of the quality of online learning.  Learners are most often required to authenticate at the onset of an exam, followed by the time of enrollment and then during  course registration.

Schools typically give their students choices when it comes to proctoring exams for eLearners.  These modalities include the instructor offering a local testing session on campus, usage of the school’s testing center, usage of a testing center at another school in the student’s area, usage of an approved person such as a high school principal or human resources manager, live virtual proctoring, or non-live virtual proctoring.  The SmarterProctoring™ Proctoring Process Management System is an LMS embedded Proctoring Process Management System that informs students about all proctoring modalities available to them so that they can make an informed decision.  It then prompts the student through the work flow leading up to that proctoring event.  Faculty and school leaders can view dashboards to see how each student will be taking their exam and where they are in the process.