The Prevention Lockbox
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Tara Williams, Caveon
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Obituary of
Copying Answers
In Not-So-Loving Memory of a Test Security Threat
“Copying” was more than 100 years old, coming to age in 1914 after Frederick Kelly invented the standardized multiple-choice test question. Since then, “Copying” developed its stronghold as a Test Fraud Threat, moving adroitly through the decades from test session to test session, hoodwinking many professionals, from both trained and untrained proctors, to psychometricians who did not know how to identify its patterns in exam data. While multiple forms eventually helped keep “Copying” at bay, Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT) or SmartItems can be used as even more powerful ways to make “Copying” ineffective and obsolete. A true celebrity in the Cheating Threat family, “Copying” can be found in news stories throughout the world; just before its demise, for example, it was used by some of the 3,427 students who were caught cheating on the KCSE exams in Kenya. The students produced identical correct options but incorrect formulas and calculations to arrive at their answer choices. “Copying” inspired creativity in many people—from examinees discretely craning their necks to view their neighbors’ answers, to students using Morse code to tap out answers with a pencil on their desks. Thank you, “Copying”, for giving individuals the opportunity to indulge their creative side. “Copying” is survived by its Cheating Threat family members: “Colluding with an Expert” and “Using a Proxy Test Taking Service” to name a few. However, with continued savviness from the security community, these cheating threats will soon face a similar eminent demise as “Copying”. A memorial for “Copying” will take place on February 27, 2019, where testing organizations, teachers, and citizens across the globe will take a moment of silence to mourn celebrate the end of “copying” and the beginning of more trustworthy exam results.
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After years of jeopardizing the validity of exam scores, the Test Fraud Threat of Cheating by Copying Answers (known affectionately as “Copying” to those who knew it best) has been laid to rest February 20, 2019. The cause of death includes smarter security solutions and technological advancements.
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