Extreme anti-cheating methods only fuel anxiety in online school

December 11, 2020 — by Kavita Sundaram
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Last summer, upon hearing that online school would continue, I found a silver lining in the thought that at least taking tests would be less stressful. Surely, being in the comfort of my own home and not having to stack binders on my desk to prevent wandering eyes would be much more relaxing. 

Boy was I wrong. 

Taking tests  in online school comes with a dizzying array of stressors. 

Along with preparing for the actual test, one has to worry about a myriad of measures teachers expect every student to be able to do. Whether it’s maintaining a silent household for the duration of the test, screen recording 50 minutes worth of timed chemistry problems or precariously setting a laptop on a stack of books to get a visible angle to one’s workspace, aggressive anti-cheating methods result in an overly complicated and stress-inducing process. A simpler solution would be to make all tests open-note.

While most students have ample technology and resources available, it is unfair to assume every student has the resources to abide by anti-cheating rules. Not every student has the ability to turn their microphone on and maintain a quiet household during a test or screen-record hours worth of tests. 

If tests were open-book, teachers would have to worry less about students cheating and would not have to enforce difficult most of these extreme anti-cheating measures. 

Even better, open-note tests result in deeper test understandings rather than surface-level memorization. Tests can be more difficult with open notes, since they examine concepts that are more difficult to understand rather than memorize. 

In fact, according to US News, many colleges across the nation have transitioned to online, open-note tests in order to enforce the most effective, efficient and easy method of test taking. 

Online school is difficult enough: With far less class time to learn material and talk to teachers, the last thing students need is to balance extreme anti-cheating methods along with everything else. Open-note tests that involve higher level thinking is a much preferred solution. 

 

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