Online Exams and Cheating

Everyone in education knows that cheating can be a major problem. Students have been cheating for as long as learning and testing have been around. There are a few ways in which educators can try to fight this problem, for example the ones below:

  • If you're a teacher worried about cheating, all you need is some basic arts and craft skills and some paper.
  • Another variation on the arts and crafts way of fighting cheating.
  • If you don't want to walk around the room, but you do want to keep a good overview, you can always try this method.
  • Maybe not a foolproof way of making sure nobody cheats, but it's a good start!
  • In China, exams are sometimes taken outside and with a large amount of space between the students.
  • Those who want to enter the Indian army will have to take their exam outside and semi-naked.
  • Proctoring hasn't gotten any easier since the rise of smartphones. But this is a good way to keep track of them during an exam!
  • Apparently anyone who wants to become a pilot has to take their entrance exams with a cardboard box on their head.
  • And then there's the old CCTV method.
  • Lastly, in Belgium some universities made headlines with drone proctoring. Unfortunately, this was a hoax, so the market is still open for this idea!

Source: HUMO

But here at SOWISO, we go about things differently.

Our Digital Assessment Tool

As discussed in a previous blog about digital assessment, we strongly believe in the power of formative assessment, or assessments during the learning process. But education technology can also be used to help with traditional benchmark testing, or summative assessments. And we’re not talking about metal detectors or CCTV!

Online testing and security: sowiso testing environment

Randomizing Tests

Teachers have a large number of options to secure online testing with our platform.

For starters, the most basic thing an online assessment tool can do is randomize the order of questions. However, we take it one step further by also randomizing the content of the questions! We do this by randomizing variables in our test items (as we do in our practice exercises as well). This means that one student might be asked to solve 6x+3=27, while another student might be working on 2x+3=9. Since the answers to these questions are different, there’s no point in trying to see what your neighbor is doing!

We can also randomize the content and answers of multiple choice questions. So in a question like ‘Which of the following is not a rational number?‘, we can randomize whether or not the word not is used. This means that one student might be required to select a rational number as the answer, but his neighbor needs to select an irrational number.

We do more than just randomization, of course. For example, teachers can input an IP range, so they can guarantee that students can only log in from a certain location. Another precaution is passwords that can be given out when the exam starts, so you know that only students who are in the room are able to take the exam.

We have found that together with a safe-exam browser, SOWISO is a great tool for math & science exams, both formative and summative.

Usage of SOWISO Tests

Teachers have been using our testing solutions in pretty interesting ways. Before I end this blog, I wanted to quickly list three interesting possibilities below.

  1. Students can try an exam an endless amount of times for 24 hours. Best result counts.
  2. Every week there is a 5 question exam. The system will tell students if their answer is correct or wrong, but won’t give them any hints. Before handing in the exam, they need to have 4 out of 5 correct.
  3. Students have access to the course while making the exam, but there is not a lot of time to finish the exam. So if they have to look up everything, they will run out of time.

Let’s talk again soon,


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