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Issue 1

September 27th, 2019

Online tests challenge honor code  

SUN. | 03-07-21 | OPINION

         This 2020-2021 school year has been challenging for many reasons, one being finding a way to hold students accountable for their online work. Virtual learning presents a struggle for teachers because they have to find a way to keep students from using outside resources on online assignments, quizzes and tests. There is always a way to cheat the system and sometimes signing an honor code is just not enough to keep some students from compromising their integrity. Due to various health conditions, online testing should most definitely be an option for students who are unable to come to school during this pandemic. However, this should not mean they get a free pass. With some students not able to come to school in person, administration for Pitt County needs to have a system in place for online testing that is secure and effective in preventing cheating.

         Many teachers have tried making online students turn on their cameras to prove they are taking their tests or quizzes honestly, but let's face it, what’s to stop them from having notes or a friend out of the camera's view helping them? Not much. I find that students who are more prepared on the material of their tests are less likely to cheat. However, any academically competitive student is going to 

Screenshot 2021-03-07 at 8.08.51 PM.jpeg

Graphic by Murphy Fisher

want to get the highest grade possible. It all comes down to their conscience, and more importantly for kids our age, the likelihood of them getting caught. Another solution some teachers have found to this problem is assigning tests on Friday for face-to-face students and giving online students a different assignment. The next week, they have the previously online students take the test in person. I see how this could be a better way of making sure students aren’t cheating at home, yet, it does yield some unfairness. One group of students has more time to study and prepare for testing than the other group. This will inevitably make some students upset. Fully virtual students also take the test with the first group of students. 
          Some online college courses from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill have even started using online proctoring to assure no students will attempt to cheat on their exams. According to “Inside Higher Ed,'' online proctoring has had massive results in reducing the amount of cheating by college students because of how extensively they review exams during this process. Online proctoring works by having the students submit their student ID and answer a few questions. After this, the student and their surroundings are monitored for anything suspicious and then are able to begin taking their test. Then, finally, they complete their test with a live proctor watching their every move. Next, there is also an occasional review of the videotape of the student taking the exam to further investigate if any infractions occurred. There has also been a concern that this method invades a student’s privacy. Personally, I feel that this is not that big of an issue when the students are only showing a portion of their home and taking an exam the same way they would in a classroom. I feel like this may not necessarily be the best solution for Rose in particular because we might not have enough resources for proctoring on every test. However, I do think we could have some sort or supervision while test taking online that involves more than just turning the camera on.
          Schools need to make finding a way for students to honestly take their tests’ online, with that students need to be responsible for taking their assignments with integrity like they would in face-to-face school. It doesn’t help anyone for them to look up all the answers instead of learning. This is the whole point of attending school in the first place. 

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