e-Learning recommends minimizing reliance on proctored exams in online courses.
Alternatives to high stakes exams that you can do in online environments.
Best Practices for Alternative Assessments Accordion Closed
- Align assignments, projects, quizzes and tests to course and program learning outcomes and learning activities, because assessment is a goal-oriented process.
- Use a variety of assessment methods so students can demonstrate their learning and skills in multiple ways. For example, multiple-choice questions can assess the ability to recall facts, application of principles, and basic understanding; projects can assess organization skills, originality and high level thinking; essays and open-ended questions can assess skills in synthesis, ability to form an argument, and provide supporting evidence; analysis of case studies individually or in groups can promote critical thinking and real world application.
- If using online multiple-choice quizzes or tests, use pools or question banks to create a variety of questions for students and increase academic integrity.
- If using online multiple-choice quizzes or tests, provide students with instructions for what to do if they encounter technical difficulties (Student Technology Center: 928-523-9294 or Toll Free: 888-520-7215 firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Show criteria and models in advance. Use rubrics to provide clear expectations for success. When students know the criteria in advance of their performance, they have clear goals for their work and are less likely to engage in academic dishonesty. Rubrics also increase instructor efficiency in grading and help maintain consistency.
- Provide frequent, positive feedback to facilitate learning and sustain student motivation.
- Promote academic integrity. Asking questions that require higher order thinking can increase academic integrity. Formulating questions that require synthesis, a connection to individual experiences or making connections across content areas promote deep thinking. Consider using Safe Assign (plagiarism detection tool) for written work, and encourage students to complete NAU’s academic integrity online workshop.
- Use low stakes assessments such as a portfolio or small quizzes throughout the semester rather than a high stakes midterm or final. Learning is a complex process and smaller assessments over time can help monitor a student’s progress towards the learning goal. Low stakes assessments also help reduce anxiety and improve academic integrity.
- Promote peer review, self-assessment and self-regulated learning for students. Self review can help students proofread and improve their assignments. Peer review can help students benchmark their work against the class.
- Create performance-based assessments where students create a product or complete a process in which they apply skills and knowledge (presentation, poster, or report).
Forms of assessment that allow access to Google, the textbook, and other reference materials, but which require higher-order thinking skills rather than basic memorization, are preferable. See the Bloom’s Taxonomy graphic for ideas.
However, in cases where you feel a proctored exam is necessary, or where one is required by your accrediting body, you can adopt one of the following strategies. Please note that these options require that each student have a fast internet connection, a computer with a webcam, and a quiet place where they can be alone during the exam.
The following two services are available for high-need situations. Students must no longer be charged for use of these services, even if that was previously the case. The cost of proctoring will be absorbed by the department, so you must obtain approval from your chair or director before adopting a proctoring service.
Honorlock (preferred option) Accordion Closed
Honorlock: ($6.50 per student per test) An online AI enabled proctoring service that prompts an observer to drop-in upon questionable activities by the student. This service can be set up in Bb Learn while creating a test. Other testing environments will require the assistance of the NAU LMS HelpDesk.
For more information on using Honorlock, watch:
ProctorU (specialized use) Accordion Closed
ProctorU: ($30 per student per test) This service provides a live observer 100% for the duration of the exam. Use of ProctorU is reserved for specialized cases, such as exams that are prescribed by an accrediting body to be live monitored 100% of the time.
To request this service please go here: https://tinyurl.com/nau-proctoru-request.
Resources and things to keep in mind!
Learn about designing an online test, watch How to design a “cheat-proof” online test
Watch Redesigning Your Online Exams
For more guidance about how to minimize cheating in any testing situation
- High-stakes multiple-choice exams are not the only, or even the best way to assess student learning, but there are also strategies to use in these testing situations, such as creating a random block of test questions, using question sets, or drawing from question pools.
- Have students complete the self-paced Bb Learn course, Academic Integrity @ NAU.
- Read blog post by NAU’s Alice Gibb, chair of Biological Sciences