Exam takers often wonder whether exam security systems can be breached. As a provider of such a system, ExamSoft implements both cheating prevention and post-exam cheating detection systems. While it is impossible to know how many instances of potential cheating have been prevented, our staff and systems have been responsible for helping our clients identify or confirm cases of illicit behavior after the fact. This role is not always popular. In particular, we are often asked why we use techniques to "lock-down" laptops and prevent access to outside tools or applications. We use such techniques specifically because we are trying to help exam takers, including students and professionals.
Moving an exam from a pen-and-paper format to a computer-based format seems very natural, particularly in today’s technology-centric world. However, it is fraught with challenges for administrators. ExamSoft seeks to give exam takers the benefits that come with technology, while satisfying the needs and concerns of the test administrators.
ExamSoft provides the opportunity for exam takers to leverage their own laptops and/or institutional computer labs (depending on the institutional client’s choice) to take their exams. The idea is to give exam takers one or more of the following opportunities:
• To type their essay answers rather than write them by hand; depending on the specific exam, this might come with certain computer-based tools such as cut-paste or spell-check
• To receive score results more quickly than is typically possible with bubble-sheet or blue-book systems
• To receive detailed, personalized exam performance feedback, to guide future study or personal development efforts (i.e. get personal emails)
• To have their digital answer files regularly backed up during the test, to mitigate risks of potential data loss
• To have exam questions that are evaluated/measured for validity and fairness
• To test in a location that is as convenient as possible (as opposed to a remote, locked down testing center, for example)
• To go green
The student or exam taker preferences often pose challenges for schools and other institutions. Exam administrators want to provide exams that are fair and valid. This means that they need to remain vigilant to prevent security breaches and find security vulnerabilities. It is a continual effort since there are always a small, but impactful number of people looking for ways to cheat or exploit any security system. Unfortunately, this means that the actions or potential actions of a few, impact the experiences of the many who simply want to study for and perform as well as they can, honestly, on their exams. ExamSoft’s staff comes to work every day, trying to find ways to improve the experience for all exam takers, while also trying to stop the small number of cheaters from impacting the whole bunch.
If you ever encounter anything that might help us improve the user experience or security level, for the benefit of all exam takers, please let us know. We really want to help and we work to improve each day. We can be reached at email@example.com or 954-429-8889.