Thursday, March 1, 2018

THE HOW: Tricks for Digital Testing

On a regular basis I am asked by teachers, "but what about cheating and digital testing?" It does happen but it also happens without your testing being digital. I remember being in 9th grade Spanish class and writing the answers my vocabulary quiz on the edge of a piece of notebook paper, strategically placing that paper inside my Spanish book so I could still see the answers and placing said book under my neighbors desk so I could see it while I took the test. I'm not proud of this, but I did it. We all did it and we never got caught...let's leave the philosophical and ethical issues for another blog and agree that cheating happens. In today's constantly connected world it can be anything from a student taking a photo of a paper test and sending it to their friends to hacking a teachers account to get access to the test and answers prior to the test. Educational technology companies know this is an issue and they have created solutions to give educators a little more piece of mind. Currently as our teachers are creating their courses in the learning management system Canvas, they have access to the following ways to trick the tricksters:
  • Question Groups- By creating Question Banks in Canvas you can very easily assign different quizzes to different students by allowing the system to choose questions out of the bank. Basically you are telling the Question Group how many questions you want on the quiz and it will randomly select questions from your bank. Question groups also allow you to randomize question order as well. FYI, you can also manually create Question Groups to utilize this as well.
  • Access codes- You can make it so no one can access the quiz until you give them the access code/password to do so. 
  • Shuffle answers and show one question at a time - When setting up your quiz click on the options that shuffles the answers for wandering eyes that can see a mark but not necessarily see the wording in a classroom setting. Also by only seeing one test question at a time helps. Think of it like a hand covering the last question as the quiz taker moves along the test. Easy access is eliminated.
  • Time limits- Set time limits so students can't access it for too long of a time so that they can do "research" in the midst of a quiz. This is especially important if you are having students take quizzes when they are not in your presence. 
  • Filter IP Addresses- Make the quiz available only when students are on our school wifi. If you use the magnifying glass next in the box labeled "Filter IP Addresses" you can see what our school's is and add it to your quiz. This way no one can access the quiz off campus when you are not able to proctor it. 
  • Don't release the student's grade until all students are done taking the quiz. You can do this by choosing "mute assignment" in the grade book.
  • You can see the start and stop times for quizzes. Check it occasionally. If you see someone flying through the material, ask yourself why. 
TEACHER CHALLENGE QUESTION: If you are unsure if a student has cheated or not, ask yourself how you can change your classroom structure to have more formative feedback so you would feel more certain about a student's knowledge base before they take an assessment? As teachers, our goal is for students to learn our curriculum, use formative assessment to create a pathway that gives you feedback to make that happen. 

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