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Tips for Enhancing Test Security in MyClasses

Author: Dr. Diana Wagner, chair of the Academic Policies Committee (2020) with additional suggestions from ID&D

When taking assessments online, the issue of testing security and academic conduct is likely on your mind. Below are some strategies and tools that can help secure your exams:

Things to Avoid

  • Recycling exams from semester to semester. Instead, revise questions even with minor wording changes or re-ordering of questions to thwart attempts at academic misconduct. If students have had access outside of class to exams, including their own graded exams, assume that it is "out there" for others to access.
  • Distributing or collecting exams outside of MyClasses. Once you email or post an exam (say, to Google drive), you have little control over where it goes or - even worse - where it might be posted for others to access.

Strategies to Enhance Security

  • Deliver all examinations in MyClasses.
  • Establish a set amount of time for the assessment so that students must complete the exam in one sitting. Typical suggestion is 30 sec or 1 minute for True/False, Multiple Choice, Multiple Answers questions and 2-10 minutes for open-ended responses depending on the extent of the questions (short answer vs. essay). Add an additional 5 minutes overall to the assessment for students to navigate the online assessment.
  • Deliver questions one question at a time.
  • Disable "Let Students See Their Quiz Responses (Incorrect Questions Will Be Marked in Student Feedback)". While students are taking the assessment, leave this setting unchecked. To provide feedback, wait until after everyone has taken the assessment to turn this setting on or discuss tests with students via a Zoom meeting or phone call after the testing period has ended.
  • Use Questions Sets to randomize the order of questions. Create a unique assessment for students but creating numerous question sets to provide students with alternate questions per concept and/or to randomize the delivery of the questions throughout the assessment. With a little bit of time, you can create a unique assessment for each student while still assessing each student on the same concepts. Start by creating alternate questions for each concept.
  • Consider online exams open notes or resources exams. Even with technologies such as Respondus LockDown Browser, students with multiple devices might have access to additional resources. So design the test with this in mind. By using the previous suggestions of establishing a time limit for the exam reflective of the number of questions, you will be able to limit the amount of time available for students to use other resources.
  • Add a question to the beginning of the exam to agree to academic integrity. Create a question that has student agree to an honor code or to a list of guidelines on what they can and can not do during an assessment. State it in realistic terms but establish your expectations for the students on how they will complete the assessment.

Using Respondus LockDown Browser to Enhance Test Security

  • Respondus LockDown Browser is a full functioning browser in which you can require the students to use while taking an exam. It disables various features such as open other applications, using cut and paste or printing. However, there is no way to ensure that students will not have other devices open and available.
  • Respondus Monitor or using Zoom to proctor and exam. If you require to use a webcam during an assessment via Respondus Monitor or Zoom, most likely you are trying to ensure:
    • verification of student identity (the actual student took the test)
    • the student did not receive assistance from another person
  • Requiring a student to use a WebCam:
  • Academic Policies Committee note: If a student looks away from the testing screen, there is no way to know what the student is looking at and it will not be considered part of the evidence of academic misconduct.