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Tips for Online Tests

First, ask: Is proctored testing the best option?

Often, it’s not. Could you offer all of your quizzes as open-book timed reading quizzes, with unlimited resources? This is a great way to turn ‘quizzes’ into ‘guided reading study sessions’ that help students prepare for your tests.

Could you proctor only 2-3 tests per semester? This is often the best option for scaffolding student success.

Next, Consider

Is the Academic Testing Center (ATC) the right fit for this assessment?

The Academic Testing Center puts extensive resources into reviewing and referring potential cheating incidents to you, the instructor, for decision and reporting to the Academic Integrity Program. The ATC’s resources only work if you respond and report.

If you choose not to respond to or report your students’ cheating during proctored tests, you will often further increase cheating in your course. Read more:

Do I set clear expectations and uphold them if students cheat yet?

  • Be clear with students in advance of tests that you will report cheating behavior to the Academic Integrity Program if you identify them cheating.
  • Respond to or report students’ cheating behavior if it occurs. Research show’s that if you do not uphold the expectation you set, cheating will further increase and become a normalized part of your classroom environment.

Am I rotating and varying my tests yet?

  • Use different tests across semesters.
  • Use several questions that offer longer-form responses, such as short-answer or essay questions. These questions typically draw on higher-order thinking skills.
  • For multi-step problem-solving questions, ask students to show their work.
  • Create several versions of a test.
  • On Canvas, shuffle both the order questions appear in, and the order of potential answers beneath each question.
  • Create a large pool of test questions, and have Canvas serve up only a smaller, random subset of this pool that is different for each student.
  • With online tests, choose the Canvas option “display one question at a time.” This de-incentivizes students from the option of screenshotting large amounts of questions at one time.
  • Review each ‘potential cheating’ email that the ATC sends you. Respond to the behavior by contacting your student and offering a meeting. Report the behavior if they are responsible for cheating.

Do I want to consider an assessment-redesign?

There is no guaranteed way to prevent cheating on tests. Sometimes it’s helpful to ask: is a test the best way to assess this students’ achievement of my course’s learning outcomes? If you’re concerned about maintaining academic integrity and want to consider a broader redesign of your assessments you can look to the Center for Teaching & Learning (CTL) and eCampus Faculty Development for:

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