Giving an Online Exam

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The Bottom Line

The most effective way to maintain academic integrity is through good exam and question design.

Research Summary

The integrity of online exams is critical to education. This article reviews alternative approaches to maintain academic integrity. The author concludes that exam design is a particularly effective way to ensure integrity compared to online proctoring (e.g., video web cam) and computer software tools (e.g., lockdown browsers). Cheating is nearly impossible to eliminate with these alternative approaches due to their current limitations. These limitations include the cost, additional time requirements, privacy and security issues, and the fact that students are able to work around them through using a second computer or mobile phone. Importantly, these tools often cause student discomfort and anxiety leading to issues of exam fairness. Through appropriate exam and question design cheating can be reduced while maintaining integrity. Specifically, the author recommends that instructors create a new exam for each course based on questions that require critical thinking and problem-solving analysis. Good exam design requires that instructors avoid questions that are easy to answer, share with other students, or that can be found online.

Key Takeaways

1. Academic Integrity in Online Assessments Needs More Attention

The implications of academic integrity are far-reaching and involve multiple stakeholders.

2. Good Exam and Question Design Is the Best Approach for Maintaining Academic Integrity

Instructors need to understand how the design and delivery of online assessments affects academic integrity.

3. Online Proctoring and Software Tools Don't Eliminate Cheating

Instructors relying on current technology to stop cheating is not effective. Students are able to work around current market solutions.

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