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The 6 Most Common Ways Students Cheat in Online Proctored Exams

Published: June 20, 2023 In: Online Exams & Proctoring

Online proctored exams have gained significant popularity in recent years as technology has advanced and remote learning has become more prevalent. Educational institutions and organizations are increasingly adopting online proctoring solutions to administer exams conveniently and efficiently. This method allows students to take exams from the comfort of their own homes, eliminating the need for physical examination centers and providing flexibility in scheduling.

Online proctored exams utilize specialized software and technology to remotely monitor and invigilate students, aiming to replicate the surveillance and supervision of traditional in-person exams for maintaining academic integrity and reducing cheating. This technology integrates webcams, microphones, screen-sharing capabilities, and AI-powered algorithms to monitor students' behavior and detect any suspicious activities. Through audio and video recordings, screen monitoring, and advanced algorithms, the software analyzes patterns to identify potential cheating behaviors, ensuring a secure and fair exam environment.

Importance of Maintaining Integrity in Online Proctored Exams

The integrity of online proctored exams is a crucial concern for educational institutions and exam administrators, as it directly impacts the fairness and credibility of the assessment process. In this article, we address the unfortunate reality of student cheating in online exams, a challenge that grows alongside the expansion of online education. By exploring the most common cheating methods employed by students, we aim to provide educators, instructors, and academic institutions with insights to effectively combat this issue. Understanding the tactics used by students allows us to implement proactive measures that enhance the security and fairness of online proctored exams, ensuring that students are evaluated based on their genuine knowledge and abilities.

Benefits of Online Proctored Exams

Convenience and Flexibility 
Online proctored exams allow students to take assessments remotely, eliminating the need for physical presence and enabling flexible scheduling, particularly beneficial for students with busy schedules or those located in different time zones.

Cost and Time Efficiency
With online proctoring, there is no requirement for physical exam centers, invigilators, or additional logistical arrangements. This reduces administrative overhead, saving time and resources for both educational institutions and students.

Enhanced Accessibility
Online proctored exams make education more accessible for students with disabilities or those facing physical or geographical constraints, enabling them to participate in exams from their preferred locations.

Immediate Results and Feedback
Online proctoring systems often include automated grading features that provide instant results to students. Additionally, educators can leverage the recorded exam sessions to provide personalized feedback, enhancing the learning experience.

Impact of Cheating in Online Exams

Cheating in online proctored exams not only impacts the individual student but also has severe consequences for the educational institution. It undermines the fundamental principles of academic integrity, eroding trust and fairness in the assessment process. It deprives students of the opportunity to genuinely demonstrate their knowledge and skills, hindering their personal and educational growth. Furthermore, it compromises the credibility of academic institutions offering online exams, tarnishing their reputation and devaluing the degrees or certifications earned by students. Cheating also prevents students from developing essential skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and effective time management, which are crucial for their future academic and professional endeavors.

students taking exam in classroom

The 6 Most Common Ways Students Cheat

1) Unauthorized Collaboration - Some students engage in unauthorized collaboration during online proctored exams, utilizing external communication tools or social media platforms. They leverage messaging apps, video calls, or online chat forums to share answers, receive assistance, or discuss exam-related information with their peers in real-time. This enables them to collaborate and gain an unfair advantage over other test-takers.

2) Impersonation - Students resort to impersonation tactics during online proctored exams, which can include the use of fake identities or even hiring impostors. They may create fake profiles or share login credentials with others to deceive the proctoring system or bypass identity verification processes. In more extreme cases, students go as far as hiring someone else to take the exam on their behalf, aiming to manipulate the exam results.

3) Plagiarism - Plagiarism is a common method employed by students in online proctored exams, involving the use of online resources to copy and paste answers. They rely on readily available content without fully comprehending or synthesizing the information. Educators play a vital role in combating plagiarism by emphasizing the significance of proper citation and originality. Encouraging critical thinking, analysis, and the expression of ideas in students' own words fosters authentic understanding and discourages the practice of plagiarism.

4) Unauthorized Resources

Students seek to gain an unfair advantage by accessing unauthorized materials during exams, including smartphones, textbooks, or notes. They hide these resources within reach or employ discreet methods to consult them during the exam. The widespread availability of smartphones and online information makes them particularly enticing tools for cheating, as students can easily search for answers, refer to electronic textbooks, or rely on personal notes written on discreet pieces of paper.

5) Malpractice During Exams - Students resort to malpractice during exams by manipulating their exam environment for unfair advantages. They hide cheat sheets or notes in inconspicuous places, utilize gadgets or devices for assistance, or attempt to distract the proctor's attention. This includes writing answers or key information on small pieces of paper and concealing them in clothing, under desks, or within other inconspicuous objects. Furthermore, students may employ gadgets like smartwatches, calculators, or wireless earphones to access information or receive assistance from external sources, compromising the integrity of the exam process.

6) Gadgets & Advanced Techniques - Tech-savvy students employ advanced techniques to cheat during online proctored exams. These include using screen-sharing applications to share exam questions with others, running virtual machines to conceal cheating activities, or even attempting to hack into the proctoring system to gain unauthorized access or manipulate exam settings. Proctoring solutions face challenges in detecting these advanced methods, as students constantly find new ways to circumvent the systems. Detecting tactics like screen sharing or virtual machines is particularly difficult due to the ever-changing technology landscape and students' innovative approaches.

Strategies and Technologies to Prevent Cheating

To maintain the integrity of online proctored exams, it is crucial to adopt proactive measures that deter and detect cheating. By implementing robust strategies and utilizing advanced technologies, educational institutions can create a secure and fair assessment environment that upholds academic honesty and ensures the credibility of online exams.

Multiple research studies demonstrate the importance of remote proctoring as an effective counter-measure against cheating in online exams. To prevent and detect cheating in online proctored exams, various strategies and technologies are available. These include AI-based proctoring algorithms that monitor students' behavior, detecting suspicious activities like unusual eye movements or excessive screen switching. Remote live proctoring involves trained proctors who actively monitor students in real-time, intervening when suspicious behavior is detected. Human invigilation provides an additional layer of oversight, ensuring the authenticity of the exam process. Secure browser applications and lockdown features create controlled environments, restricting access to external websites or applications and preventing students from using unauthorized resources or engaging in multitasking that aids cheating. These combined strategies and technologies contribute to maintaining the integrity of online proctored exams.

How Talview Can Help Reduce Cheating in Online Proctored Exams

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Talview Proctoring Solution is a comprehensive platform designed to enhance the security and integrity of online proctored exams. Power with dual camera, it leverages artificial intelligence to provide an efficient and reliable proctoring experience. Talview understands the challenges faced by educators and institutions in combating cheating and strives to offer effective solutions that mitigate these risks. Talview counters various cheating methods through the following features:

  • Comprehensive Integrity Score: Available within 24 hours of the conclusion of an exam, an integrity score is generated for each test taker, indicating the level of potential malpractice. This includes an end-to-end recording with timestamps, proctor notes, and low, mid and high “risk” event logs

  • Live Proctoring: Talview offers remote live proctoring solution, ensuring that a trained proctor monitors students during their exams. Proctors intervene in real-time if they detect any cheating behavior, maintaining exam integrity and providing immediate response to potential violations.

  • Secure Browser: Talview's secure browser feature prevents students from accessing external websites, applications, or unauthorized resources during the exam. It secures and locks down the exam environment, reducing the risk of plagiarism and unauthorized resource usage.

  • Two-Factor Authentication: Talview incorporates advanced face-to-photo ID and voice matching features to ensure the authenticity of the test-taker. This helps prevent impersonation and verifies that the student appearing for the exam is indeed the authorized individual.

  • Record and Review: Talview's AI proctoring also captures audio and video recordings of the entire exam session. After the exam concludes, their highly trained proctors, or those provided by exam administrators, can quickly review and confirm any event flags before certifying the validity of the exam and authenticity of test takers.
  • Secondary Camera: In addition to the primary laptop/desktop camera, Talview offers an extra layer of security with secondary camera proctoring, covering a wider area of the test-takers surrounding, giving better visibility of any malpractice.

Investing in a reliable online proctoring solution like Talview can significantly enhance the security and integrity of online exams. Talview's AI-powered proctoring algorithms, secure browser, two factor candidate authentication process, and recording capabilities offer comprehensive measures to counter cheating. By partnering with a trusted proctoring solution, institutions can uphold academic integrity, ensure fair assessments, and safeguard their reputation.

Tags: Online Exams & Proctoring, AI Proctoring Solution

Written by: Team Talview

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