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Are Online Tests the Key to Addressing Cheating?

The Honolulu Star Advertiser today ran a story (entitled “Cheating by Educators Rare in Hawaii”) about the Atlanta cheating scandal vis-a-vis Hawaii:

Revelations of widespread cheating by educators in Atlanta to boost test scores are raising questions about efforts to ensure the integrity of statewide tests and the pressures of high-stakes testing.

This year the Hawaii State Assessment was conducted entirely online, an approach considered more secure than traditional paper exams, where students in a classroom take the same test and answers can be altered after tests are collected.

“It’s a lot more difficult to cheat on an online test, especially an adaptive online test in which all the kids are looking at different items,” said Jon Cohen, executive vice president of American Institutes for Research, which handles Hawaii’s test. “This test is set up so that if a kid is away from a test for 20 minutes, nobody can go back and change their answers.”

“This is not to say that it’s impossible for someone to cheat on our test,” he added, “but we’re not at risk for the sort of cheating that you saw in Atlanta.”

Full article online at Star Advertiser.

Is shifting from paper-based testing to online, computer-based testing the best way to address these issues? What do you think?

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