Discouraging Cheating in Online Tests

In online courses, where a student completes a test off-campus without instructor supervision, online tests must be considered as open-book tests because students often have access to a wide variety of information resources. Furthermore, students with a mobile device would still be able to take pictures of the test questions as displayed on the computer monitor.

Although instructors may enable Respondus Lockdown Browser protections on a test in Blackboard to prevent students from printing a test, this software is meant to be used in proctored classroom environments only.

Faculty concerned about cheating in online testing are encouraged to consider these more effective countermeasures when creating their tests in Blackboard:

  • Create a large pool of test questions (100 or more) and design the test to pull random questions from the pool. That way, no two students will have the same test questions or questions in the same order.
  • When deploying a test to a course, select the “Set Timer” and “Auto-Submit” options to limit the amount of time students have to complete the test once opened. Once the test session reaches its end, the student’s test attempt will automatically submit itself.  This technique assumes that students who are prepared for the test will be able to complete it within the constraints of the timed session, but please remember to advise students of the time restraints so that they may plan accordingly.
  • To discourage students who have completed a test from sharing correct answers with classmates who have not taken the test, set the test’s feedback options to display only the student’s test score after submission.  After all students have been graded, you may edit the test’s Test Options to show students their submitted answers, correct answers, and feedback.
  • Update or add new test questions to your pools each time you teach the course so that your tests will be different each year. This is an important countermeasure to students sharing the test questions and answers that they recall from memory with new students.

To review how to build a test in Blackboard, watch the videos in this training playlist

Using Blackboard’s Item Analysis to Evaluate Online Test Question Effectiveness

If you have created and deployed online tests in your courses in Blackboard, you can collect and check statistics on your students’ overall test performance and performance on questions through the Item Analysis tool.  Through Item Analysis, you can determine the effectiveness of test questions and whether questions are good discriminators of student knowledge. To learn more, please watch Blackboard’s video and review the provided resources.