JONATHAN JANSEN | Online exams are fertile ground for cheats. Here’s how to fix them

Varsities can’t enforce cheat-free online assessments, but these seven steps will build integrity into the system

30 September 2020 - 19:26

Let’s be honest. Most parents help their children to do well on school projects. Parents with more money, formal education, technical skills and time available can make that school project count for much more in the school-based assessment (SBA) than if the pupil did it on his/her own. We know that. This past weekend I conducted one of those Twitter polls and asked: Would you as a parent help your child struggling with an online exam done from home? Of the 681 votes cast, a solid third of the respondents answered “of course.”

Not very funny when it comes to high-stakes tests and examinations such as online assessments forced on us by the pandemic lockdown. Still stuck at home, the question of fairness and honesty in examinations-from-a-distance is cause for growing anxiety, especially among university academics. A student getting a degree in internal medicine or clinical psychology based on dishonest exam outcomes can have catastrophic consequences for society. More than that, cheating is simply wrong and unfair to those who play by the rules...

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