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Cheaters Exposed Analyzing Statistical Anomalies 437

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the actually-they-do-prosper dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Proctors and teachers can't watch everyone while they take tests — not when some students can text with their phones in their pockets, so with tests increasingly important in education — used to determine graduation, graduate school admission, and — the latest — merit pay and tenure for teachers, Trip Gabriel writes that schools are turning to 'data forensics' to catch cheaters, searching for data anomalies where the chances of random agreement are astronomical. In addition to looking for copying, statisticians hunt for illogical patterns, like test-takers who did better on harder questions than easy ones, a sign of advance knowledge of part of a test or look for unusually large score gains from a previous test by a student or class. Since Caveon Test Security, whose clients have included the College Board, the Law School Admission Council, and more than a dozen states and big city school districts, began working for the state of Mississippi in 2006, cheating has declined about 70 percent, says James Mason, director of the State Department of Education's Office of Student Assessment. 'People know that if you cheat there is an extremely high chance you're going to get caught,' says Mason."
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Cheaters Exposed Analyzing Statistical Anomalies

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  • by fridaynightsmoke (1589903) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @12:44PM (#34699758) Homepage
    The headline should be "Cheaters Exposed By Analyzing Statistical Anomalies"? I thought the cheaters themselves were doing the analyzing, to get ahead of the cheat detection.
    • by Ynot_82 (1023749)

      Depends,
      If they did poorly on the previous "Analyzing Statistical Anomalies" test...

    • by Thanshin (1188877)

      The headline should be "Cheaters Exposed By Analyzing Statistical Anomalies"? I thought the cheaters themselves were doing the analyzing, to get ahead of the cheat detection.

      I thought a new branch of Statictical Anomaly Analysis had managed to replicate the effect of airport porn-o-matics.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @12:47PM (#34699798)

    If I fall into the anomaly category without cheating, I'll be screwed. What can I demonstrate in my defense? Not much. I find it hard to believe they can prove that you cheated without actually video-taping you cheating or something along those lines.

    Anomalies are what they are, data anomalies, nothing more and nothing less.

    • by ceejayoz (567949)

      It'd be possible to do in a sensible manner. If half the class falls in the "statistical abnormality" category, and they have the same or similar abnormality, there are some pretty good conclusions you can draw. The same for someone who consistently shows the same abnormality across multiple tests.

      The response might not be to fail someone immediately, either. It might be to watch them more closely on future tests, or to swap out the suspected compromised test at the last minute without anyone but the profes

      • by Shadow of Eternity (795165) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @01:25PM (#34700372)

        In a sane and rational world, yes. In a school? The instant the business flags someone the school is going to treat that as the voice of god himself coming down from the heavens to demand blood and expulsion.

        That's not even getting into the blindingly obvious conflict of interest here. Just like turnitin these guys are a business that relies on there always being cheaters to catch, it's in their interest to produce as many "catches" as possible without losing credibility. Hell at least with turnitin you're dealing with something you can prove, with these guys the student literally has no defense.

        It's a witch hunt, pure and simple. If they're not failing they must be cheating somehow, if they are failing obviously they're innocent. No matter what the student is fucked.

        • That's not even getting into the blindingly obvious conflict of interest here. Just like turnitin these guys are a business that relies on there always being cheaters to catch, it's in their interest to produce as many "catches" as possible without losing credibility.

          I know this is /., but did you RTFA? The company that does the statistical analysis was actually criticized by a school district because they said the statistical anomalies suggested that 33 schools they tested did NOT show evidence of cheating. I won't say that what you suggest isn't possible, but the guy who runs the company profiled in the article appears to be an academic type who is less concerned with profit than with studying the data.

    • by Desler (1608317) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @01:01PM (#34700032)

      Yes, the anomalies in and of themselves do not prove anything hence why the article says:

      When the anomalies are highly unlikely -- their random occurrence, for example, is greater than one in one million -- Caveon flags the tests for further investigation by school administrators.

    • by 0123456 (636235) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @01:04PM (#34700084)

      If I fall into the anomaly category without cheating, I'll be screwed. What can I demonstrate in my defense? Not much.

      But this is good. Kids should learn that in the real world they'll be arbitrarily punished for doing well merely to further the career of the person they're working for.

    • Once, before an Elementary School exam, a friend of mine said

      "If you aren't cheating, you aren't trying"

      He then went on to get 98% on that exam. I have always wondered to this day how much of that grade he earned.

    • by Spazmania (174582)

      Worse than that, actually. The methodology assumes that one wrong multiple-guess answer is as likely as any other wrong multiple-guess answer. But that isn't the case. Wrong answers are often chosen specifically because a particular and expected form of mistake will yield that answer. This skews the results to a point where the real chance of two people in a class getting exactly the same wrong answers could be as little as 1 in 100... and when you give test after test, it doesn't take long for 1 in 100 odd

    • by Chas (5144)

      If I fall into the anomaly category without cheating, I'll be screwed. What can I demonstrate in my defense? Not much. I find it hard to believe they can prove that you cheated without actually video-taping you cheating or something along those lines.

      Anomalies are what they are, data anomalies, nothing more and nothing less.

      This to the Nth power.

      It also fails to take into account a student's study patterns and general aptitudes.

      As such "harder" and "easier" questions are a matter of perspective.

      Again, lies,

    • Anomalies are what they are, data anomalies, nothing more and nothing less.

      Not true, anomalies are 100% certain proof of whatever it is you've decided ahead of time that you're looking for. Just ask: 9/11 Truthers, Anti-Obama Birthers, Ghost hunters, Anti-evolutionists, anti-vaccinationists, etc etc etc.

      People doing statistical analysis who don't understand that a standard distribution GUARANTEES a percentage of anomalous results, frankly don't have any business having a job in their field. The fact that they'll label people as cheaters when they should know that x% will be

    • by JWSmythe (446288)

      I agree, the statistics can show cheating, but they can also show a cheater who in reality isn't.

      What if several students get the same "wrong" answer. Does it indicate cheating, or does it indicate that the material was taught wrong, so they all gave the same wrong answer.

      If done properly, they won't use a single data point (one question) to determine cheating. When I was in school, I didn't cheat on tests. No need. I really didn't care. :) There were plenty

    • by KDN (3283) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @02:43PM (#34701530)

      I did this type of work back when I was in college (the 1980's), let me share a bit about the process, or at least how we did it. What we did was count up the matching incorrect answers between people. For most people who entered in a number of incorrect answers, the same wrong answer count tended to be low. For those who were copying answers, the matching wrong count was high. However, this by itself was not sufficient to accuse someone of cheating. What we did was give the names to the exam proctors, who during the next exam would either ensure that these people where physically seperated, or who to keep an eye on. Note this was in the 80's, before the common availability of wireless communication. But who to keep an eye on would still work.

      Some observations from the work we did. One: if your going to cheat, cheat off a smart person (duh!). With fewer wrong answers, you blend more into the crowed. Second: this technique would false positive on people who study together. That's why we never used it to accuse someone, but only who to seperate or keep an eye on. In addition, it would give no clue of who was cheating from whom. Three: to counteract this, some professors would give out several slightly different versions of exams. It would be very hard explaining how you got all the right answers for an exam you did not take, but all wrong for the one you did take.

  • Sooo... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by redemtionboy (890616) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @12:51PM (#34699858)
    ...the lesson here is to cheat just barely enough to get by, or to consistently cheat all the way through. A better lock just makes a better lock picker. Not that I'm saying we shouldn't discourage cheating, but the issue is why students want to cheat rather than gain the knowledge. I understand that testing is one of the best ways to gauge knowledge, but we're too focused on testing and no where near focused enough on education. Tests are proven to decrease a students interest in subjects. The solution is to move to more objective based learning where students complete projects or applications showing their knowledge of the material. Obviously testing is easier, but if our goal is education, we need to change.
    • by Shados (741919)

      the issue is that the gain from high grades, regardless of how they're obtained, is far too high. So many companies won't hire anyone under 3.0 GPA, colleges won't accept you if you're not good enough in highschool, etc.

      For people that are borderline, cheating on one test in one class could be the difference between their dream job and, in certain fields in certain areas of certain countries, no job. I fortunately don't live in such a place, but I know people who do. Make college acceptance process smarter

      • Grad schools wont accept you without a 3.0 undergrad and many Doctoral programs wont accept you without a 3.25.
        • by Surt (22457)

          That's usually only true if you're a raw grad with no contacts. If you REALLY want to go to grad school, but didn't have the grades, go get a job near/at a university, and volunteer part time for the lab you want to go to grad school in. You'll be accepted the next year, assuming you've proven yourself interesting.

          • Makes sense. I "BARELY" made it in 3 years ago with a 3.06 . Then I got my head out of my ass and started studying harder.
            • I made it out of College with a 2.4something. Obviously, Grad school was out of the question so I went into the working world. A few years later I went back to school. On paper my program required an undergrad GPA of 3.0, but I had some nice recommendations and had networked with the department chair.

              In Grad school though I have been keeping a 3.9 without any real effort. Maybe there's something unique about my undergrad and grad schools, or maybe I'm more focused as an adult than I was in college, but

    • A better lock just makes a better lock picker.

      I have a tall fence I'd like to sell to you which will make you a better jumper.

  • I would like to apply this idea to see when a politician is lying. But then I realized it would just overload. So then I figure we should try to see if it can detect when they are telling the truth. That way you work with a much smaller data set. Damn near zero. So it looks to be a total failure.. Nevermaind

  • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @12:52PM (#34699876)

    Gotta love this line:

    David Foster, the chief executive of Caveon, said the company had not published its methods because it was too busy serving clients. But the company's chief statistician is available to explain Caveon's algorithms to any client who is curious.

    Interesting. So their people have time to explain the methods to non-peers ... but not enough time to write them up for peer review.

  • by ArhcAngel (247594) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @12:55PM (#34699916)

    Teacher: I'm sorry I am going to have to fail most of you for cheating.
    Students: But we didn't cheat!
    Teacher: Then how do you explain how so many of you came to the same conclusion that 2+2=4?

  • Since Caveon Test Security, whose clients have included the College Board, the Law School Admission Council and more than a dozen states and big city school districts, began working for the state of Mississippi in 2006, cheating has declined about 70 percent

    Or cheaters have become 70% less detectable.

    • by khallow (566160)

      Or cheaters have become 70% less detectable.

      Given how dumb a large portion of the cheater population is, I'd say that there's probably a big decline in actual acts of cheating. It might not be 70% since as you point out, the smarter cheaters might have adapted to the detection mechanisms, but I see three groups of cheaters. The first is too ignorant or dumb to pass the test. They're not going to be able to master methods that require them to foil statistical checks. The second is lazy. They cheat because it's less work than studying. Throwing in addi

  • "cheating has declined about 70 percent"

    You mean, people caught cheating has declined 70 percent.

  • by Abstrackt (609015) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @12:57PM (#34699964)
    From TFA:

    "Your goal is not to catch a bunch of people and hang them," Dr. Fremer said. "Your goal is to have fair and valid testing."

    I hope administration agrees. When I was in university I wrote a group paper with one guy whose wife was a professional editor, she helped us out by reviewing it and making suggestions, we had to fight not to get expelled because our paper was "too well written" to be our own work.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Frosty Piss (770223) *

      When I was in university I wrote a group paper with one guy whose wife was a professional editor, she helped us out by reviewing it and making suggestions, we had to fight not to get expelled because our paper was "too well written" to be our own work.

      You had it proof read and edited by a professional. You did in fact "cheat", the work was not completely yours. This is essentially the same as buying your term paper on-line. You can rationalize it all you want, but the bottom line is your professor expected the work to be yours, not that of a "professional editor". I assume you went on to get an MBA?

      • Re:False positives? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Rinikusu (28164) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @01:44PM (#34700662)

        Not even close. As long as the group did the research, the presentation, and the conclusions, a professional editor is only going to clean up grammar, suggest paper flows, etc. When I was in high school and in college, we were ENCOURAGED to get other people to proof-read our papers. If my mom or dad happened to be a professional writer, you damn well better believe I'd ask them to read my paper. Cheating is paying someone to write your paper for you, without doing any research or anything yourself.

    • When I was in university I wrote a group paper with one guy whose wife was a professional editor, she helped us out by reviewing it and making suggestions

      Unless you specifically asked the prof and got permission to do that, you should generally assume that even if a paper is given as a “group” paper, it should still only involve the collaboration of people who are actually in that class, and in that group.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      You did cheat. you had a professional editor review it.

  • False Positives (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dartz-IRL (1640117) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @12:58PM (#34699970)

    And yet, there will also be false positives.

    I did poorly on one test. Noticing this, I studied hard and greatly improved my grade in the next test. Would this flag up a warning that I'm a cheater?

    Or for that matter, doing better on the 'harder' questions. Perhaps I decided to concentrate on doing those questions because they offered higher marks than the easier questions, or because I had a natural aptitude for some elements. I may have elected to study those materials harder.

    Professors can't rely solely on 'statistical anomalies'. Illogical patterns may well have an explanation that has nothing at all to do with cheating or advanced knowledge of the test. Of course, we all know just how lazy a minority of our lecturers are.... and how likely they'd be to take the word of this agency as gospel.

    • by Desler (1608317)

      That is why they don't automatically assume you are a cheater:

      When the anomalies are highly unlikely -- their random occurrence, for example, is greater than one in one million -- Caveon flags the tests for further investigation by school administrators.

      You get flagged and they do a further investigation.

      • Re:False Positives (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @01:28PM (#34700422) Homepage Journal

        That is why they don't automatically assume you are a cheater ... You get flagged and they do a further investigation.

        Being accused of cheating in the academic world is kind of like being accused of a sex crime in the world at large -- the burden of proof is essentially on you to prove your innocence no matter what the law says, it's very difficult to prove you didn't do it, there are people who will go to insane lengths to get you convicted, and even if you're cleared the damage to your reputation is done.

    • Exactly, I'm afraid this will detect students who 'spot' study. The ability to figure out what is important and only study that, and ignore the fluff, will be penalized.
    • by JoshuaZ (1134087)

      I did poorly on one test. Noticing this, I studied hard and greatly improved my grade in the next test. Would this flag up a warning that I'm a cheater?

      That's a flag that is already used by teachers. That isn't the sort of more sophisticated statistical technique. I'm a calculus TA now, and I had a student last semester who got around a 75 on the first midterm and got a 100 on the next midterm, and a score in the high 90s on the last midterm. I'm pretty sure she just studied really hard (and it helps that she's fairly bright). But it is hard to tell in general what is happening. When one has 100 students in a class the probability is high that some will e

  • Since Caveon Test Security . . . began working for the state of Mississippi in 2006, cheating has declined about 70 percent.

    How can anyone possibly know this? If they're detecting 70% less cheating, how do they know it is because students are cheating less rather than cheating in less detectable ways? The company methods aren't published or peer reviewed, and the graphs on the website are post-hoc graphs from excel (rather than whatever they use to data crunch - R, SAS, etc). As pointed out in the article, the company says nothing of type 1 (false positive) or type 2 (false negative) error rates. If students study together a

    • by geekoid (135745)

      If cheating drops that fast, it's a fair assumption. Cheaters getting craftier will happen, but not that fast.

      The real problem is such a short time span to collect any data to actually come to this conclusion.

  • by Dunbal (464142) *

    The "dumbing-down" of America continues. Because it's much easier to turn the wrath of the "system" against anyone who stands out rather than actually following the steps involved to prove a person's guilt. Publicly flogging an innocent person is just as effective a deterrent as flogging a guilty one. It does, however, speak volumes about how those entrusted with authority view their powers.

    While statistics may be absolutely certain about what the odds are over the long term of getting any particular number

    • by geekoid (135745)

      I wish people like you would think...or at least read the article.

      Statically anomalies are red flagged for further investigation.

      Just like if the same number came up 3 times in a row on a roulette wheel the pit boss, and the eye, will start paying the wheel little more attention.

  • by Fnord666 (889225) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @01:08PM (#34700122) Journal

    With more than 100,000 students tested, proctors could not watch everyone -- not when some teenagers can text with their phones in their pockets.

    And how exactly did they read those text messages if their phone was in their pocket?

    • by KeithJM (1024071)

      And how exactly did they read those text messages if their phone was in their pocket?

      If a student in the first class of the day texts the questions and/or answers to a student in a later class, they could read the messages at their leisure.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      The problem is texting the questions to a source and then selling them.

  • Played out about as purely as it could be. Here again, as in criminal law, we see that deterrence is always a better choice than retribution. It's why the death penalty doesn't persuade anybody not to commit a capital crime. It's retributive. It says nothing about the probability of being caught to begin with, so it does not change the murder rate.
  • Maybe I'm a bit slow on this, but I'm still trying to figure out how one cheats with their phone in their pocket. I get how on some phones you can send a text with your phone in your pocket, but how exactly do you receive an answer with the phone in your pocket? Does the person aiding you send you back 1 text for answer A, 2 for B, etc. and you count the number of times your phone vibrates? Of course in a smaller room, I'd imagine some people would be able to hear the vibrating and ask you to give up your p
  • Let's hope they are correct in their assessment and it's cheating that declined 70% (by the way, why not more than 70%?) as opposed to something else happening - like people cheating 70% MORE during all other times, not just during exams to throw off the statistics during the exams.

  • you can proactively mask your cheats with statistically valid test answers, right and wrong. thus, the cheats won't be caught by the test analysis software, it will be thrown off the scent

    however, if you can actually master this methodology, and the test you are cheating on is a test in a college level statistical analysis class, perhaps you deserve the A nonetheless

    • however, if you can actually master this methodology, and the test you are cheating on is a test in a college level statistical analysis class, perhaps you deserve the A nonetheless

      If you can actually pull that off in a college-level statistical analysis class, couldn’t you have probably passed it without cheating in the first place?

  • by b4upoo (166390) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @01:16PM (#34700254)

    Some emotional disorders can cause lapses in concentration in which complex questions are solved and easy questions answered incorrectly. I would think that any accusation or action in regard to cheating best have one heck of a strong proof or the lawyers will have a feeding frenzy.

  • like test-takers who did better on harder questions than easy ones, a sign of advance knowledge of part of a test or look for unusually large score gains from a previous test by a student or class

    Sounds awesome, lets punish those who started studying since they bombed the first test.

  • if the purpose of education is to prepare for life in the "real world".
    Cheating is a part of everyday life and if you are going to compete in a world of cheats, you need to refine your cheating skills as early as possible.

    How else are you supposed to be a competent financial analysis, stock broker, lawyer, etc.. Success in many fields is all based on being the best cheater.

    In fact, there should be a requisite course taught in schools titled "How to cheat and get away with it".
  • The most interesting part of this expensive and heavily studied technology will be the results (or lack of) with regards to demographics such as race, sex, parents income, political beliefs, whatever.

    • by vlm (69642)

      The most interesting part of this expensive and heavily studied technology will be the results (or lack of) with regards to demographics such as race, sex, parents income, political beliefs, whatever.

      Err, I should follow up, I'm not so much interested in "such and such group cheats more" but more interested in cognitive research.

      For example its widely believed that men inherently have better spatial analysis skills than women.

      So given "imagine a cluster of 64 computers wired in a six dimensional hypercube. They are on a straight linear shelf and must be placed one foot apart for cooling purposes. So theres a line of 64 PCs, which is 64 feet long. Each node connects to six neighbors. What is the long

  • by Somebody Is Using My (985418) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @01:34PM (#34700520) Homepage

    There seems to be an increasing emphasis by schools on "catching cheaters". This seems to be missing the point.

    We send our kids to school not so they can pass tests. I honestly do not care if my kid gets an "A" or an "F" on the test; I care that he actually learns the material. Tests are a tool that educators can use to help them determine if a child is learning the material but passing grades shouldn't be the goal. If students are cheating on tests then you need to look at the reason why. Is the material being presented in a way that is too hard for the child to understand? Is it not being presented in a way that interests the student? If a student is intererested, he will learn. If he learns, then he has no need to cheat.

    Stop spending money on anti-cheating technologies. Spend money on improving the methods of education.

  • by walmass (67905) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @01:46PM (#34700702)
    When teacher pay was linked to student achievement in standardized tests, some Chicago teachers decided to 'help' students during tests, and were subsequently caught through statistical analysis
  • by wfstanle (1188751) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @01:49PM (#34700730)

    I remember an example from my high school days. It was a statistics class and the teacher had three classes of the exact same subject. He would give the same test to all the classes. One would think that the situation was ripe for massive cheating and you would be correct.

    When the first test was given, he purposely allowed the students to take their tests from a pile. Of course, there were more tests taken than there were students in the first class. These purloined tests made their way into the hands of students from the second and third classes who did unusually good on that test. By the way, the first class was composed of the best students. When the test scores were analyzed of course the second and third classes did much better than the first class. When the tests were handed back, everyone noticed that they had unexpectedly bad test scores. Here is what happened.

    For the first class, the teacher lumped their scores in with the other two classes. Of course, this skewed their curve so that they received low marks. For the second and third classes, he did not do this and their average was so high that it was impossible to get a good mark. Their curve was "skewed" also. He then went into length about how he used statistics to teach us a lesson about cheating. He explained that the good students were aware of the cheating and did nothing, as such they were enabling the cheating. The students that distributed the stolen tests actually were damaging their test scores so they lost. The students that used the stolen tests also lost out because to the "skewed" curve. In the teachers words, he "SKEWED" all of us. Needless to say, we were all leery about cheating in his classes after that.

  • by Kaenneth (82978) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @01:53PM (#34700802) Homepage Journal

    I was disqualified from a competition run by FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) when I was in high school because I scored so well I must have cheated.

    It was multiple choice on 'Computer Concepts' I scored 98/100, second highest was 76/100.

    That was pretty bad... but worse was the next year, I tried again... and was disqualified because I 'won' the previous year.

    I ended up dropping out of school and getting a GED later because of the stress of it.

    Hopefully this method is better

  • by Byzantine (85549) <carson AT sdf DOT lonestar DOT org> on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @02:50PM (#34701642) Homepage Journal

    The elephant in the room is that in American society, people are in general far more educated than they need to be. I have a bachelor's degree, none of the knowledge gained in pursuit of which[1] is of any help to me whatsoever in the course of my daily life, whether personally or professionally. And while I have no data, if the scuttlebutt is to be believed, I am very not alone in this. Furthermore, even a lot of the knowledge I gained in high school has proven completely useless to me[2]: outside of a class, I have never used any mathematics more advanced than the Pythagorean theorem.

    As long as unreasonable academic credentials are required for jobs, though, there will be incentive for people to cheat—that is to say, cheating is not the problem; it's a symptom. Elminate the degree inflation in the job market, and you'll eliminate most of the cheating.

    [1] Aside, possibly, from reading comprehension and writing skills, but those were not developed in college—I tested out of all the required English classes and all but one of the history classes—merely honed.

    [2]The important words here are of course “to me.” I know lots of things which, objectively, are of no utilitarian use in my situation, but which I have sought out the knowledge of simply because it interested me; my enjoyment of them constitutes their usefulness.

  • by seebs (15766) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @03:17PM (#34702042) Homepage

    Many people with ADHD consistently do better at "hard" things than at "easy" things. I'm a pretty decent programmer, I could do calculus (though not always very well) by about 4th grade... and even now I can't do single-digit arithmetic with complete reliability. Assuming that people who show the pattern I will show on basically any test of my ability in any field I work in are "cheating" is a poor tactic at best.

    As a possible indicator, maybe useful. As a definite rule, hell no.

  • by fluffy99 (870997) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @03:26PM (#34702160)

    The CISSP exam has special questions designed to catch cheaters or those who got a copy of the actual exam answers. At least a dozen questions are ambiguous and have more than one correct answer. The odds of two people answering all of those questions exactly the same, or exactly matching one of the the illicit copies of the exam answers is exceptionally low. The odds are low enough that you will get flagged for at least a manual audit of your test and test book.

    Another dead giveaway is if your answers match almost exactly with the answers of someone else in the room. All the test books are not identical as they may have the questions in a different order or even different questions. If your answers to questions 1-40 exactly match the answers of your neighbor and he's using a different book, that would be suspicious too.

    The irony is that there are cheaters for the CISSP exam, a certification that supposedly values honesty and ethics above actual knowledge.

  • by gnalle (125916) on Wednesday December 29, 2010 @03:35PM (#34702252)

    I don't think that this system works for a normal (non multiple choice) test. At least that would require the teachers to spend a lot of time typing each students results in a nonambiguous way.

    On the other hand it is a little more difficult to use cell phones to cheat in a non-multiple choice test, because the entire answer of an exercise is too long to fit into an SMS.

  • by definate (876684) on Thursday December 30, 2010 @09:53AM (#34709914)

    I would be flagged every single time. Though earlier in life I cheated (and was good at it, got 100% on some exams, thanks to weak lecturer passwords), these days I don't, because I really want to learn, and not just get a piece of paper. Though I sometimes wonder if a hybrid approach could be better, since I do want the extreme grades, since they sometimes count.

    However, I digress. I'm ADD and Bipolar. While most people think this means "stupid" and can appear stupid, it's isn't necessarily. Basically, some things I get hyper focused and excited on, to the extreme point of spending days awake, working on the problem, sometimes forgetting to eat/drink/etc. On a softer scale, I have trouble retaining attention for "easy" problems, and have less trouble retaining attention for "hard" problems. Because of this, when doing tests, quizzes and exams, I often fuck up the easy ones, and do extremely well on the hard ones.

    Based on their stated idea, I'd be flagged as cheating. This would happen in every exam. I wonder how much a university (with a strict no-cheating policy (like they all have)) would tolerate a student continually coming up flagged as cheating, regardless of their ability to prove it. If I get reprimanded for cheating, in my university, then I'm gone for a minimum of 3 years, and other universities in the area, might be warned of me (or at least that's the threat).

    That would fucking destroy me. I'm already devastated by my results, as they're always 75%+, but they almost never reflect my competency in the subject. Some subjects it works in my favour, but mostly it works against me.

    Side note: In some of my earlier statistics courses, we were privy to some analysis done by the statistics lecturers on various courses, and what variables explain the variation seen in students scores. Consistently in each course it was found that quizzes, attendance, having read the textbook, assignments, and many other variables, were all lousy explanatory variables for the final exam result, and as such the greater the weight of the final exam, the more likely your overall result wouldn't reflect you (working under the axiom that the other material/variables, better explained your competency).

    This is quite interesting, at the very least.

    * I find it impossible to remain consistent between the usage of the words subject and course, but they both mean the same thing.

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