Element of Surprise and its Efficacy in Maintaining Exam Integrity in Online Exams

Conference: The European Conference on Education (ECE2022)
Title: Element of Surprise and its Efficacy in Maintaining Exam Integrity in Online Exams
Stream: Assessment Theories & Methodologies
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Bibek Bhatta, Queen's University Belfast, United Kingdom


In view of off-site assessments being adopted by Higher Education Institutions (HEI) especially in response to Covid-19, questions can be raised regarding the extent of possible unhealthy practices employed by students when sitting for their online exams. Such unhealthy practices could take various forms including working in groups during individual assessments, accessing resources beyond what is allowed, presenting someone else’s work as their own, etc. In this context, we examine the impact of element of surprise in preserving exam integrity when common monitoring protocols or other paid outsourced services cannot be implemented. The surprise in this context relates to assigning students randomly to different versions of exam papers at very short notice; such versions of exams could be really different or very similar to other versions. Using three different techniques namely image-processing, textual analysis, and analysis of multiple choice question pattern across student pairs, we find that introduction of element of surprise lowers the degree of active collaboration among students during online exams.

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