The web and assessment

ExamI’ve noticed a couple of interesting takes on online information and cheating in exams, today. The BBC reports on  Danish pupils who are permitted to use the Internet during their exams ‘They can access any site they like, even Facebook, but they cannot message each other or email anyone outside the classroom.’ Concern about cheating is minimised. ‘Pernille Günther Jensby, 18, says: “It’s possible to cheat but I think we have so much respect and self discipline, so we won’t do it.” ‘

Meanwhile news breaks of a cheating scandal at the University of Central Florida where students in a senior-level business class received an advance version of a mid-term exam. The students’ defence is that the paper was readily available via the online database of the publishers of their textbook, and a legitimate way to revise, whereas some experts maintain that studetns wouldn’t share exam papers just for practice unless they knew there was some advantage. I think it’s unfair to make that assumption, I know several conscientious learners who take every practice test they can get their hands on. Of course, there’s no excuse for not owning up at once when they realised they’d already seen the paper. Perhaps the professor should have devised his own paper – an extreme example of “teaching from the texxtbook”?

A further twist is that the professor has tackled the subject by releasing a YouTube video. The web and exams – a perfect pairing or a charter for cheats?