Student is cheating during exam with cheat sheet with formula written on his hand.

Cheating… wandering eyes, notes tucked in a sleeve, floating versions of the exam, the covert conversations that start with “What do I need to know for the test?”  At any grade level, cheating is the academic version of good vs bad and, for some, the temptation can be as strong as the red apple in the Garden of Eden.

While teachers over the years have learned to combat these classic forms of cheating, the list above barely scratches the surface of the ways modern students use technology to cheat.  Between using smartphones and smartwatches, cameras embedded into smart glasses and other Bond-esque spy gadgets, keeping the playing field honest requires more than a teacher’s astute eye.  To get a glimpse of the sophistication of modern cheating, check out the story of the Thailand medical students who were caught by their professor.

Luckily, those of us with the good-guy hats also have technology on our side.  And while we may not be able to keep up with the latest spy-style cheating gadgets, we can rely on features built into the technology that can help dissolve those wayward temptations.  

Incorporate these features on Edulastic to help prevent cheating on assessments:

➡️ Pause

The Pause feature in Edulastic allows a teacher to pause an assessment and block access to the class for a specified amount of time. Pause essentially locks down an assignment until the teacher un-pauses the assessment allowing access once again. This is most often used when an assessment will be taken over a day or more and the teacher doesn’t want students to have the unfair advantage of accessing the assignment outside of class time.

Teachers can also pause individual students from the live class board. This helps with moments when they need control over what an individual or select students can access, for example, if a student’s internet is out or if a student. Learn more.

Pausing an Assignment Free for Everyone
Pausing individual students is a Premium feature.

➡️ Depth of Knowledge

Edulastic allows teachers to ask harder questions. Teachers can create assessments that don’t have straightforward recall questions that can easily be googled.  Using the Depth of Knowledge (DOK) filter when searching the item bank, a teacher can select question types that require critical thinking and more analytical skills.

Free for Everyone

➡️ Scratchpad

This handy tool is available on every question type. It allows a pop up box for students to show their work, such as in a math a problem, or makes it possible to create an outline for a essay question. Teachers use Scratchpad in a variety of ways to validate the answers given by students.

Free for Everyone. Note: Scratchpad is automatically on every assessment question unless you have a Premium account and choose to turn it off.

➡️ The Live Class Board

The live class board helps keep an eye on students. Keep an eye out for funny behavior to catch cheating students.

Using the real time data feature in Edulastic, a teacher can track a student’s work during and after an exam. The teacher can see how long each student to took to answer each question and compare it to other members of the class.

Here is a scenario: a teacher administered a test. There were two students who took 9 minutes to answer the assessment, the rest of the class took around 25 minutes. Both students missed the exact same questions and happen to sit next to each other. Using the data on Live Tracking section of the Edulastic dashboard, the teacher has the information to validate suspicions about these two students.

Free for Everyone

➡️ Data and Scores Sharing

Do not release scores to prevent cheating.

A teacher or administrator to choose how much information their students will see once submitting an assignment.  When ready to assign, a teacher or admin will set the levels of data.  The levels available to a student include:

  • no information about scores
  • overview of scores only
  • scores, the questions, the student’s answers
  • scores, the questions, the student’s answers, and the correct answers

A teacher concerned about cheating, or sharing the assessments from year to year would select a lower level of information such as scores only or no data.

Both Premium and Free for Everyone. Anyone can choose to 1) withhold scores or 2) responses or release scores, responses, and correct answers. Premium accounts have additional options of release overview of scores only and releasing everything except correct answers.

Navigation Controls

All Premium Features unless otherwise noted.

➡️ Pause Individual Students

Maybe a student walks away from Zoom, or their internet goes out when they are supposed to take the assessment. On the Live Class Board you can select and pause individual students. Resume their assessment whenever you are ready. Both teachers and administrators can access this action. If the student was in the assessment while it was being paused, they will land back on their main assignment dashboard with a notification about the pause. Learn more.

➡️ Warn Students Who Navigate Away from the Assessment

Need more control over students who wander to different tabs on their screen? Now you can activate a way to warn or pause students when they move away from the Edulastic assignment. If students leave the tab, they can get just a warning, or both a warning and their assessment paused. The teacher is notified through the Live Class Board when this happens. 

➡️ Lock Out Students Who Navigate Away From the Assessment

In addition to warning students who navigate away from the browser, you can choose to lock students out who navigate away from the browser. This pauses the test for that individual student. If you want to let them leave the browser a certain amount of times, you can also allow that and if they exceed that number, they’ll be locked out until you unpause the assessment for them. The teacher is notified through the Live Class Board when this happens. 

➡️ Kiosk Mode and Safe Exam Browser

Safe Exam Browser is a popular tool for preventing cheating.

Kiosk mode is an app or extension you add to student Chromebooks.  It works on most browsers. When activated, it runs a single app on the full screen and restricts access to the browser, toolbar or menus.  Kiosk mode ensures the Edulastic student can’t exit the assessment on their computer to find answers elsewhere. Schools using Edulastic work with their IT administrators to activate Kiosk Mode.

For Edulastic Premium or Enterprise users on Macs or Windows devices, you also have the ability to set up Safe Exam Browser(SEB) for any given assessment. You’ll find this setting in on the Assign Assessment page in the Advanced Options. With SEB activated, students are locked into the screen and can not switch to other windows on their device. Please note, the SEB must be installed in the student’s device in order for this setting to work.

Learn more about these two ways to lock browsers.

Kiosk Mode is Free for Everyone.
SEB is a Premium Feature

➡️ Forward-Only Assessment Navigation

Perhaps you want to keep students moving forward on an assessment so they can’t look back at the previous questions and their answers to them. A new assignment navigation option will guide students to move forward, one question at a time, no looking back, ahead, or jumping around. 

You’ll enable this feature win the anti-cheating section of the assignment setting page when you go to assign something to your students. Once activated, students can move forward on an assignment, but will no longer be able to go backwards, bookmark a question, or use the question dropdown to navigate between questions. They will be able to see the question review page but will be unable to navigate back from there.

In assessments where the questions aren’t strategically ordered, we recommend using this feature along with Shuffle Questions for more cheating prevention. 

Set Timers and Passwords

➡️ Timed Assessments

Timed assessments put a limit on how long a student can take to answer an assessment. Limiting how long a student is lingering on an assessment will encourage them to move diligently through the assessment. It can also give students an idea of how long an assignment should take. You also have the option to allow students to save and exit so they can return to the assessment and use the remaining allotted time later. OR you can require that students complete the assignment in one sitting without exiting.

➡️ Static Password

Put a password in front of your assignment so that you can ensure students who get the password are the only ones who can get in. This is great for when you are working with a room of students in-person and you don’t want students who aren’t there to begin the assessment, or if you are limiting entry to specific students at a time.

➡️ Dynamic Password

Prevent unauthorized access to an assessment and protect password security with a dynamic password. When a teacher goes to open an assessment, the password will appear on the teacher’s dashboard so it can be shared with the students. Students must have and enter the password within the pre-allotted time in order to access that assessment.

Mix it Up

All Premium Features

➡️ Shuffle Questions and/or Answers

This feature shuffles the questions on an exam so students will see the same questions on their exam, but not in the same order. The automated form of “versioning” prevents the “Hey what did you get for #4?” question and the issue of wandering eyes.

Similarly, shuffle answers mixes up the answers for questions such as multiple choice and multiple select. This helps mix up what students are seeing so if someone tells a friend that the answer to MC question #5 is B, that simply might not be the case!

➡️ Dynamic Question Content (Dynamic Parameters)

For math questions or problems that rely on a numerical or equation-based responses, create a question using dynamic parameters. When you set up dynamic parameters, each student will receive a unique and randomized set of numbers for the problem they are asked to solve. With this type of set-up, each student has a unique correct answer they’ll have to solve for and enter into the answer box. Learn more about dynamic content here.

Try it out!

So there you have it! Keep in mind, that while these tools will help make cheating more unlikely, we can’t guarantee that students can’t find a way around them somehow, especially if working or taking assignments or exams from home. Regardless, use any one of these features or a combination of a few to keep away any lingering hopes for cheaters. Sign into your Edulastic account to get moving.