EVALUATION is a critical window for assessing learning and acts as a communication channel between students and educators, especially in online learning environments.
While face-to-face classrooms can allow educators to physically observe students, online learning can do away with some of the traditional methods educators use to check learner progress. As the former rely more on digital assessments, it is crucial to ensure that no student receives an unfair advantage or is left behind in distance learning.
With inclusive assessments, educators have the opportunity to gather valuable information, while helping to improve instruction and strengthen program effectiveness, regardless of platform or format. It also allows them to strengthen teacher-student relationships through positive feedback and interaction.
Teacher effectiveness and student learning will ultimately depend on the integrity of the design and delivery of assessment. Additionally, while the importance of assessment is very important in online learning environments, tailoring in-person assessments to accommodate remote delivery is not without challenges.
Academic integrity challenges
Educational institutions are responsible for protecting assessment arrangements against academic misconduct, while ensuring that students submitting their work under difficult circumstances are treated fairly. They should also consider the number of activities assigned to students and ensure that they have enough time to produce their best work.
In most cases, to make up for the lack of in-person interaction, educators tend to donate more written assignments and performance tasks, which can overwhelm students, who may then resort to shortcuts to complete the requirements. .
Lack of face-to-face interactions can complicate the assessment process and may lead students to commit acts of misconduct such as using cue aids, plagiarized responses, or using forms. more extreme misconduct such as contract fraud and identity theft. They may also resort to other forms of academic dishonesty, such as using translation engines and text spinners to bypass integrity tools, as well as artificial intelligence text generators and computer applications to respond to asynchronous exams.
When students engage in academic dishonesty to complete assessments, learning outcomes are invalidated and educators miss out on information that can help improve the quality of teaching.
In the Philippines, a recent study on the perception of online education during the pandemic found that faculty members at state universities considered online education to lead to more academic dishonesty. With activities spread across various technology platforms, it is difficult for them to spot academic dishonesty, such as contract fraud or plagiarism in their students’ results.
Maintaining academic integrity
THE function of assessment is both to measure student understanding and to better understand the effectiveness of instruction. Thus, it is imperative to ensure that checks and balances are built into the design and delivery of remote assessments.
To help ensure academic integrity in assessments, educators can incorporate the following steps:
Create multiple versions of the test by reformulating and rearranging the question sequences to avoid student collusion. To support scoring and assessment, educators can use scoring software like Gradescope with built-in response aggregation and learning analysis capabilities to identify meaningful patterns in exam responses.
Set a completion deadline for students that works with the school’s assessment policies and academic calendar. Teachers can use tools like browser lockout and test tracking tools to enforce deadlines and manage the testing environment.
Create assessment questions that ask students to explain their higher-order thinking, such as showing their work or attaching a brief video of their thinking process, using the Gradescope file download or the free answer field.
Provide feedback and support to students by encouraging independent thinking and supporting originality in writing and evaluating computer code.
Leverage advanced integrity tools like Turnitin Originality to verify text and code similarity, as well as identify deliberate text manipulations designed to bypass plagiarism checkers, to spot signs of contract fraud.
Meaningful assessment is an essential part of student learning, especially in a distance learning setting. Thus, awareness of existing and emerging forms of academic misconduct is a fundamental part of maintaining the integrity and accuracy of assessments for academic institutions and educators. By recognizing the various forms of misconduct and accessing technologies that can help detect it, educators are empowered to design accurate assessments and create an environment that promotes authentic learning for students.