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Z. Agatha Klaxovox, Intergalactic Test Security Specialist
March Edition
Ask Agatha
Dear Agatha,
I am a director of an assessment program. My exam developers are frustrated. They work long hours to create high-quality exams, only to find exam content online at Braindump sites a few weeks after launch. I’m frustrated too. We are (happily) using Web Patrol tactics and have sent DMCA take-down notices to the Braindump sites. I feel like I’m taking the right steps. But I want to be more proactive. Is there something we can do to prevent the theft from happening in the first place? Help!

Insecure in Ohio
Dear Insecure,

Your frustration is valid. I’m here to help you outwit the thieves. Why not use a special type of test question, known as “SmartItems,” which can self-protect? SmartItems are fortresses against test theft and make cheating much more difficult. How do they do this? First, through design. With SmartItems, a part of the item can change, on-the-fly, upon each delivery. Stealing item content that is constantly changing is like trying to hit a moving target. If thieves cannot successfully steal a complete item to put on the Braindump site, would-be cheaters will see little value in buying the content. Second, through technology. New innovations in testing technology allow these innovative items to be easily developed.

Insecure in Ohio, you are not alone. Cheating and test theft affect so many programs across the industry. Committing to proactivity in the face of these threats is a commendable goal. I wish you the best of luck! Sincerely,

Ask Agatha is an advice column written by Z. Agatha Klaxovox. Agatha is an intergalactic test security specialist who is only too happy to offer advice on what we should be doing on earth. To submit a question to Ask Agatha, email Questions will remain 100% confidential.
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