Measuring the Score Advantage on Asynchronous Exams in an Undergraduate CS Course

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The Bottom Line

Asynchronous assessments have benefits (e.g. flexibility, time conflicts, etc.) but are vulnerable to collaborative cheating. An appropriate assessment design can help reduce concerns associated with asynchronous assessments.  

Research Summary

Asynchronous exams are prone to collaborative cheating, even when proctored. This study compared proctored asynchronous and synchronous exam performance of 351 students in an upper-division computer science course at the University of Illinois. Results indicate that students gained an advantage (3%) in asynchronous exams but such advantage was reduced through question randomization techniques regardless of question type.  

Key Takeaways

1. Asynchronous Assessments Generate Score Advantages

Students have score advantages on asynchronous exams, most likely due to collaborative cheating.

2. Randomizing Questions Is Effective In Reducing Collaborative Cheating

Question type (i.e., multiple choice, check box, etc.) has less impact on score advantages compared to whether or not the question is randomized. 

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