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New report demonstrates how to protect staff skills tests from cheating

June 25, 2020 — Employers must address a ‘crisis of confidence’ in the way they make crucial people decisions, according to a new report by Questionmark, the online assessment provider. 

To thrive in a changing business environment, senior leaders must ensure that staff and workers across supply and distribution channels have the skills to face new challenges.  The most efficient way to do that is with tests and assessments. 

These can also support the recruitment process by checking new recruits have the skills to boost productivity and create change.  However, a range of security measures must be introduced to protect skills tests from cheating.

John Kleeman, Founder and Executive Director of Questionmark, said, “Robust staff testing and assessments can give employers fair, valid and reliable information they need to make good people decisions.  Such data can reveal where gaps and weaknesses are concentrated so training and other interventions can be introduced.  But data from assessments can only transform decision making if it is trusted, and that means putting in measures to encourage test integrity.”

Insecure assessments can be vulnerable to several different types of cheating.  These can include someone else taking the test on the candidate’s behalf, the use of ‘cheat-sheets’ or getting prior knowledge of the questions.

Questionmark provides a range of anti-cheating measures, including: 

  • Randomized questioning, whereby no two students need ever sit the same test, so no one can get an advantage by asking a previous candidate. 
  • Questionmark Forensic Analysis looks for patterns such as similarities in answers and the time taken to answer each question.
  • Questionmark Record and Review records the test and flags anomalies for future analysis.  These might include two heads looking at the computer.  Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology observes the testing process, can spot possible anomalies and notify the test-setter that footage of the test should be reviewed. 
  • Questionmark Proctoring Online is the most robust form of remote invigilation.  It is popular among certification bodies and increasingly used by academic institutions.  It enables tests to be taken remotely without compromising security or the integrity of the assessment.  The assessment is supervised live by a proctor or invigilator over webcam.

Download the report