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Technology makes cheating in exams impossible

by Dan
June 16, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Cheating on exams will become an issue of the past thanks to new technologies that detect the cheats.

Nowadays modern technology assuring miniature video cameras, smartphones and Internet access on mobile phones offer an ideal way to cheat and to get answers on exams. The Japanese government has asked universities to ban mobile phones in exam halls because students are not the only ones who cheat. Teachers whose salaries depend on the grades given at the exam encourage cheating among students, helping them pass the exam.

Because supervisors in exam rooms are not always immune to bribery, modern technology can help detect cheats easier.

Programs developed by several companies in the U.S. detect cheating by calculating the probability that the pattern of answers given by the student is reached in the correct way. A correct answer is a correct answer, and with the exception of the case where a candidate correctly answered all the questions, the pattern of right and wrong answers may provide clues on the collaboration among other students or the teacher. If the pattern of answers is similar or identical for two candidates, warning flags go up. If there are more than two candidates with similar answer patterns, the software will easily find it.

In tests in which the candidate is allowed to change answers, the model of the changes also provides information. If more candidates make the same change, it becomes suspect.

A sudden increase of the average grades taken at an exam in comparison with the previous ones also raises questions. Also people who cross borders to give tests are suspicious, especially when moving from one testing place which is correct to another one that is known to be corrupt.

A company called Kryterion manages online tests and supervises them in their headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona. In an examination, supervisors follow all those who give the test around the world with cameras, without meeting in person. This removes all opportunity for supervisors to be tempted by envelopes filled with money.

It is also forbidden to remotely control the testing computer and supervisors will be able to disqualify people who use their hands in a suspect manner. The software will also alert if a candidate will respond in a very short time to a difficult question.

The security system doesn’t stop at the end of the exam. Caveon and Prometric are analyzing any illegal entries into the system to prevent crime. Prometric has an additional security measure. In the individual tests there is a unique question. If this will be published on the Internet, the company will more easily detect the source of the leaks.

Prometric detects many cheaters, so it weekly investigates about 20 of the 5,000 test centers worldwide. Of these, about five are permanently closed. Many managers and supervisors are dismissed because of corruption and accepting bribes.

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