Cheating prevention tools: helping to promote honesty and integrity in education

How can cheating prevention tools help institutions to ensure that their assessments are conducted in a secure and honest way? Keri Beckingham finds out.

Upholding academic integrity is something that’s extremely important to education establishments across the world, but edtech is helping to combat cases of students cheating in order to get ahead.

It may seem ironic that although some of today’s students are using digital tools and software to be academically dishonest, technology such as cheating prevention tools are also helping teachers and lecturers spot essays that have been paid for or exams where answers have been fraudulently submitted.

If you have ever wondered what cheating prevention tools are available for use in the classroom and the ways that they can benefit schools, colleges and universities, then we have put together a guide to explain this type of edtech in more detail. Read on to find out more…

Why are cheating prevention tools important?

Not only do cheating prevention tools help to ensure that the integrity and security of your assessments, essays and exams are maintained, but they can also provide your teaching staff and students with total peace of mind.

At a time when online delivery is going to be more common, for the time being at least, cheating prevention tools offer education establishments the opportunity to engage with their students and remind them why honesty and integrity is so important when it comes to their studies, especially in regards to the authenticity and originality of their work. One of the biggest challenges of the remote classroom is that students are able to collude and copy/paste information from the internet more easily without detection. In addition, the freedom of studying from home means that some students are more tempted to turn to plagiarism or the help of others to complete their work.

On top of this, it has never been more vital to regularly communicate with students, and ensure that they know how to access the learning support that’s available to them. Online cheating prevention technology can help establishments engage with their students in a creative way, as well as address any suspicions of academic misconduct without the need for face-to-face meetings or panels.

What brands manufacture cheating prevention tools?

There are several key brands within the cheating prevention tools marketplace. Some of the most notable brands include Turnitin, Plagscan and Urkund.

How can institutions run exams online and keep them secure?

In light of the current global COVID-19 pandemic, many educational institutions are making the move to run their exams online for the foreseeable future. In these unprecedented and uncertain times, it’s going to be increasingly important for schools, colleges and universities to minimise the learning disruption for their students, and maintain academic integrity at the same time.

Online examination software such Speedwell Software can help institutions improve their remote exam processes in several ways and ensure they are run securely. Examples of features include statistical analysis and blueprinting (where the desired requirements of an exam can be checked to ensure that the topic or learning objective is at the appropriate difficulty level) can provide insights that can be used to improve online exams on an ongoing basis.

What tools can be used to prevent cheating?

There are several options available for teachers and lecturers who want to ensure they can deliver high-quality assessments on a secure, remote basis. Some common features of cheating prevention tools include:

  • Integrated assessment system: If you’re looking to create and administer your exams in one place, as well as receive a range of analytics and reports, then an integrated assessment system is for you. Not only is this type of system easy to use, but it will also help to ensure that your online exams can run in a completely secure way.
  • Preventing plagiarism: A system that is designed to prevent plagiarism will check essays and submissions against an extremely large record of current and archived web pages, student submissions on a global basis, as well as journal articles. On top of helping to encourage academic integrity, they can also help to tackle emerging challenges such as text spinners and contract cheating, and also provide feedback for students that allows them to reflect on their own approach to their studies.
  • Cloud hosting: To get your online exams established as quickly as possible, a secure cloud hosting option could provide an extremely effective solution. As well as reducing the need to invest in additional software or infrastructure, all of this will be managed by the tool provider. In addition, you will also benefit from the latest version of the technology, and will receive all of the latest updates.
  • Fully automated: Some systems have the capability to detect, prevent and manage plagiarism, regardless of the language the text is written in, through text recognition. As part of this, fully automated reports are produced which allow educators to explore a range of insights, and these can then be used to take action against students that they suspect of cheating.
  • Integrate with existing LMS: If you already use an existing LMS (Learning Management System), you may want to find a cheating prevention tool that can seamlessly integrate with it. Luckily, many systems are already compatible with some of education’s most popular platforms, including Moodle and Canvas. It’s also possible to easily import documents directly from your computer, or file storage services such as OneDrive, Google Drive and Dropbox.

While the length of time that education establishments will need to operate remotely is still uncertain, the need to ensure that exams and assessments are completed with integrity is something that will never change. To minimise the risk of plagiarism and cheating at this current time, cheating prevention platforms can not only help to protect your reputation, but also give both students and teaching staff the tools that they need to get ahead.

To find out more about cheating prevention tools, read our buyer’s guides:

Turnitin: Tools to ensure remote assessment with integrity

Speedwell Software: Run secure exams remotely

Urkund: Preventing plagiarism not punishing it

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