Minimize Online Cheating for Online Assessments During COVID-19 Pandemic

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The Bottom Line

Best practices to reduce cheating in online assessments include increasing the quality of question, making it difficult for students to find them online, and reducing the stakes in the assessments.

Research Summary

Better assessment design is the best defence against cheating. The authors of this research suggest three primary ways to improve academic integrity in online assessments:

1) Higher-Order Thinking Multiple Choice Questions
2) Novel, Higher-Order Thinking Short Answer Questions
3) Increasing Assessment Frequency

The authors note that writing higher-order multiple choice and short answer questions is both difficult and time consuming. Higher-order questions require students to apply critical thinking and not regurgitate information. They should also be difficult to find online, unlike current test bank questions from publishers. This requires professors to write questions that vary from student to student and also contain good distracting information in both the question stem and answer choices. This makes searching for and finding questions and solutions online more difficult for students.

The third strategy lowers the stakes of each assessment. Research suggests that students are more likely to cheat in high-stake assessments. Overall, this research supports our approach at EXAMIND. For more information on how to start creating higher-order questions see our beginner's guide on dynamic questions.

Key Takeaways

1. Higher Order Questions Increase Academic Integrity

Cheating is more difficult when students have to think critically. It also makes it more difficult for students to collaborate.

2. Write Questions That Can’t Be Easily Found Online

This requires professors to write questions that vary for each student. Variation should not only be numeric but also include variation in text and logic.

3. Reduce the Stakes of Your Assessments

Reducing the stakes of an assessment reduces the incentives to engage in cheating.

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