Online courses and testing have become an excellent option for many colleges, universities, and high schools in recent years, mainly due to the widespread availability of technology. According to one study, computer-based assessment using the internet provides many conveniences for instructors and students. However, there are unique challenges presented with testing students, much of which centers not only on the mechanics of online assessment but also on how to prevent “digital cheating” during the process.
Digital cheating is a term used to describe students who find a way to cheat using computer technology. One specific form of digital cheating is “e-cheating,” which relates explicitly to the use of the internet to assist with cheating. Examples of such techniques include term paper plagiarism and cheating during web-based exams.
To mitigate e-cheating, online examination systems have developed several built-in features designed to prevent cheating like browser lock-down, disabled keys such as Print Screen, arrow keys and ESC, which means that test takers cannot save screenshots of the test, or go back to a previous screen and change their answer. Another significant security feature is dual proctor log in, where the administrator must be logged in first before a test taker can take the test. This prevents students from accessing the test questions ahead of time and unfairly preparing for them.
As opposed to the traditional examination system with long, time consuming conducting and evaluating process, the online exam systems offer quick and accurate solutions within the desired time limit. The assessment is fast, reliable, and accurate.
Fewer resources are required for online testing as compared to pencil-paper tests. Test takers can easily access the exams through the internet, so it reduces the need for staff. Online testing also reduces the printing of tests and other materials required to conduct a pencil-paper test.
Another significant advantage of online testing is its accessibility to persons with disabilities. Computers can be customized to accommodate those with physical disabilities. The physically disabled test takers who had limited access to such traditional methods can now have a leveled playing field with the use of online assessments.