This question is often asked by our prospective partners. Here are some of our responses.
Online examinations in Sevenstar courses are not simply “face-to-face” classroom tests transferred to the Internet. Assessments are designed specifically for an online environment. This means that the medium and delivery has been considered and designed into the actual assessment. Tests are not simply the regurgitation of facts, or rote memorization that can be manipulated by cutting and pasting. These tests are driven by the concepts of critical thinking.
Sevenstar designs exams by using question banks of many more questions than need to be delivered at one time. For example, an assessment of 20 questions will be “fed” by a question bank of more than 100 questions. Students taking the same test at the same time are rarely going to see the same questions, because the question bank is randomly generating questions for each student. This, in addition to the way the assessments randomize the order of the questions delivered, will go a long way to prevent cheating.
Perhaps the best and simplest way to combat academic dishonesty is to inform students from the beginning about the high level of reporting and oversight that online teachers have regarding their progress and movement within the course. A teacher can generate a report on what students are doing online, sites they have visited, and what they have viewed down to the hundredth of a second. This knowledge discourages students from attempting to be dishonest.
An extended measure to prevent cheating is “browser security". This is an additional application that is used to literally “lock down” the student’s browser so that when the student opens an assessment item, that item is the only thing that can be accessed on the computer. A student cannot navigate to any other pages on the Internet or browse the computer for local files.
Teachers have the ability to create “agents” within their courses that will password protect, release and hide content in order to encourage academic integrity and honesty. For example, teachers can hide all quizzes and tests until the students have completed the lessons leading to that assessment. Then, when the student is ready for the assessment, only the assessment itself will be visible within the course. The student cannot see the assessment ahead of time and cannot see any of the lesson material once the assessment has begun. Conditional release of content is taught to all teachers in our standard teacher orientation course.