Posted by Julie Chazyn

Last week I wrote about tips for protecting  intellectual property.  It’s equally important keep people from cheating on tests, so here are three pointers on that subject.  I’ll be following this up with more tips in future posts.  Leave me your comments; we can always add to lists like these!

Screening tests

Consider givinig a small pre-screening test to prevent people from taking an assessment that is beyond their current ability level. If a participant can‘t answer a certain number of these questions correctly they will not be allowed to see the remainder of the assessment. When the time does come for them to take the test,  they will not have already seen its content.

Candidate agreements

Candidate agreements or examination honor codes require  a participant’s agreement before they start an assessment, say by clicking on an “OK “ or  “Yes” button after reading the exam’s code of conduct.

The code might say something like this:  “I agree to answer the questions on this assessment without obtaining assistance from another person or via electronic means. I agree to not to share my answers with anyone during or after the exam. I further agree to not memorize or otherwise steal the intellectual property contained in this exam. I accept that if any of these conditions are violated, my exam results will be set to a zero, I will not be able to retake the exam for a period of 10 years, and I may be charged with a crime under regional laws.”

Here are some topics you might want to cover in a candidate agreement:

  • The test vendor will have the option to terminate the assessment if suspicious behavior is detected
  • The candidate must abide by the rules of the test center, organization, or program
  • The candidate will not provide false ID or false papers
  • The candidate cannot take the test on behalf of someone else
  • The candidate will not engage in cheating in any form
  • The candidate will not help others cheat by disclosing information about the assessment
  • The candidate will not use aids that are not allowed
  • The candidate will not solicit someone else to take the test
  • The candidate will not cause a disturbance in the testing center
  • The candidate will not tamper with the test center in any way
  • The candidate will not share information

Limiting content exposure/leakage

In order to limit the amount of question content being shown to a participant at any given time, think about using question-by-question templates. These present questions one at a time to participants so that exam content is not completely exposed on screen. Participants who may intend to take pictures of the exam content or otherwise steal intellectual property will not be able to do so all at once.

There are many fine resources for learning how to prevent cheating. Two of thes are books by Dr. Gregory Cizek:  Cheating on Tests: How to Do It, Detect It and Prevent It and Detecting and Preventing Classroom Cheating: Promoting Integrity in Assessment.

There’s also our white paper: “Delivering  Assessments Safely and Securely,” and of course this blog! Watch for more security tips in my future posts.