ExamSoft Cheating on High-Stakes Exams

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ExamSoft Cheating on High-Stakes Exams
Though not a surprise, it is unfortunately true that when the stakes are high, such as with standardized tests and certification exams, there will often be some exam takers intent on trying to circumvent the system.

In this case recently reported by CNN, cheating appears to have been pretty pervasive and systematic. CNNs investigation found that radiology residents across the country have been cheating on the board certification test by memorizing test questions and creating comprehensive banks known as "recalls," to improve their future test scores.

Similarly, the SAT Cheating Scandal uncovered late last year resulted in criminal charges against 20 students who allegedly accepted payment or paid others to take the SAT fraudulently. Though cheating on the SAT is not an easy task, it is estimated that there are 2,000 cases of cheating out of approximately 2 million students who take the test each year.

Exam security systems are continually challenged, and there are many different means of cheating. Those associated with recall, such as the two examples listed here, appear to be some of the hardest to combat. However, the rise of computer-based testing (CBT) has presented new opportunities that have yet to be fully realized, including access to:

Historical question performance data. Administrators can review question performance over time to identify trends and suspicious activities worthy of further attention.
Question banking systems. Question or item banking systems enable easy, ongoing question creation, revision and management. Sophisticated item banking systems have been proven to facilitate question development, which grows the available question pool and makes something like "recalls" more difficult.
Instant results and reporting. The ability to monitor and grade exams in real time can help exam administrators identify and confront potential cheating on the spot, rather than letting it slip through the cracks like it did with the SAT scandal.

Whether a student or professional in-training is caught copying another students paper, accessing the Internet with his or her cell phone, pasting test answers on a water bottle or passing the memorized test bank answers along to another test taker, these instances are labeled as cheating.

Although it is impossible to prevent people from cheating on tests 100 percent of the time, you can put advanced systems in place to significantly reduce test takers ability to cheat or inflate examination performance. Our team at ExamSoft is committed to being a part of the solution for protecting test answers from being shared or stolen and minimizing the occurrences of cheating.

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