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Updates, tutorials, and tips for Falcon Online and distance education.

Integrity with Online Assessments

by Aaron Sunday on 2018-02-07T13:01:33-05:00 | 0 Comments

One of our values at DSC is integrity.  Specifically, "Daytona State strives for the highest ethical standards in all areas of operation, including the fair and consistent treatment of all members of the Daytona State community. The college fully supports academic freedom and the right of intellectual pursuit."  Don your cape, mask, shield, or whatever it is that turns you into an overseer because you are the guardians of your grades!  At your fingertips are the tools to protect the integrity of your assessments. We will show you some features in the Quizzes tool to help maintain grade integrity in online testing.  Within each quiz, you have features like time limits, random question folders, and shuffling to assist you in this modality.

The following are quiz options in Falcon Online, and the order does not reflect importance nor effectiveness in deterring questionable results on your assessment.  

clock icon Time limit 

A time limit would be more useful if your quiz has multiple choice, true/false, or matching questions.  A time limit reduces students' ability to reference a Web source like Google, the textbook, or a friend for answers.  Say you have a fifteen-question quiz on the content in chapter 1 of the textbook, and you assume your students read the material. They should be able to answer the questions quickly.  A time limit of 15 minutes gives the students, on average, one minute per item, which limits them from using various sources for the answer.  If they've read the material, they can probably locate it quickly enough to confirm or change the selection; but at least they learned the material, and the correct answer proves mastery of the content.  Alas, if a student did not read the chapter, one minute goes by quickly when they have to scour the entire section for an answer.  You may say, "My questions follow the textbook," so they start at the beginning and work their way through the chapter until they find the answer.  We have a solution; shuffle your questions so the order does not reflect the chapter layout.  I will address a solution for e-texts and Web browsing on the same device further along in this blog post.  To set a time limit, look within the Restrictions tab. 

shuffle icon Shuffle

As stated above, you can shuffle your quiz questions so the order does not follow the chapter.  Also, if students have more than one attempt per quiz, the order of items is not the same on the second try.  They may have seen the question, but the chronology is different.  You can even shuffle your answers, but be careful if you have multiple-choice questions and one of your answers is ‘All of the above." That answer could move to the top of the list, and that would not make sense in the quiz answer layout.  You can find the ‘Shuffle questions at the quiz level' box in the Properties tab.

hand icon Random Section

A Random Section folder allows you to add questions from the Questions Library into a folder and then add questions randomly into your quiz.  Let us take our example for the Chapter 1 quiz.  Instead of a fifteen-question quiz, we will make it a ten question quiz.  You also want different questions for different attempts.  The solution is to create a random section folder and add fifteen questions from the Library.  The quiz is now set up to randomly pull ten of the fifteen questions into your quiz.  If students decide to attempt the quiz en masse or they have more than one attempt, they will not have the same quiz.

In this example, the selection size is small, but if you have fifty questions to randomly select ten from, the chance for duplication is much less.  Therefore, if you have a time limit with the answers shuffled, their ability to cross-reference is reduced.  Random section folders take a few steps to setup, but you can create them in the Add/Edit section on the Properties tab in the quiz.  Say you do not want random section folders, shuffled questions, shuffled answers, and time limits; we have another option.  Change your types of questions.

question icon Question Types

Maybe you want to challenge your students' understanding of a concept through written response. Written Response (WR) questions tasks them with demonstrating their knowledge through explanation.  Perhaps your students draft similar reactions because they are collaborating, but at least they are discussing the concept and writing a reply that enhances their understanding.  They think they are sneaky, but you have tricked them into learning.  I heard a story about a professor that allowed students to create a cheat sheet for a test only for him to cancel the test because he knew if they created a cheat sheet, they went over the material.  Sneaky educator.  The point is you can vary your question types to include written responses that encourage your students to use their words to demonstrate comprehension or at least discuss the topic in enough detail so any answers are not identical.  As a best practice, create your questions in the Questions Library and not individual quizzes.   

lock icon Respondus Lockdown Browser

Respondus Lockdown Browser will prevent your students from navigating away from the quiz and accessing additional resources like a PDF or e-text. If you require Lockdown Browser, keep in mind your student must install it on their device.  A link is available for students to install the application for Windows or Mac if you require it for the exam.  Lockdown Browser "locks" users from accessing external resources like e-mail, browsers, and applications and prevents them from going to Google or opening their e-text and using the Find function to locate specific language.  I know it is common to have multiple, connected devices in a home, but if you combine time limits, shuffling, random folders, and different question types, you add roadblocks to dishonest assessment.  You can find the Lockdown Browser options on the Lockdown Browser tab on the Quizzes tool menu bar.  

I have presented multiple ways for you to protect the integrity of online assessment.  Also, we have provided resources to help you create questions to preserve the integrity of online assessments.  If you use different methods to protect your online assessments, please comment so your peers can integrate them too.  If you would like any assistance with the Quizzes tool in Falcon Online, please stop by or contact the FIC. 

aaron sunday picture

Aaron Sunday
Instructional Designer | 386-506-3209

pam woman woman  P.S.  Wonder Woman resides in the FIC! 


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