Maintaining Tryouts Security

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Maintaining Tryouts Security

Post by Anonymous15 » August 19th, 2020, 9:31 am

Hey everyone,

Hope you're all doing well! Now that the 2020 season is approaching, my team and I were wondering how to maintain testing integrity during tryouts. My school is offering both a hybrid and all-virtual option for the fall, and we will likely be conducting meetings virtually. For us, there are two new problems that comes with online testing:

1. The lack of equal resources (not everybody will have printers, build equipment, etc.)
2. Test security

For the first issue, we'll likely either switch to Google Forms or send PDFs to students for them to complete. The second issue, however, is where we're unsure. We might be able to do live proctoring to ensure time limits, but we don't know how to prevent students from using other devices for notes, how to handle giving extra time to students who have WiFi problems, etc.

Does anyone have any ideas on how they plan to overcome these obstacles for their season?

Thank you so much, and stay safe!

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Re: Maintaining Tryouts Security

Post by pepperonipi » August 19th, 2020, 6:55 pm

Hey there. I understand that this issue can be challenging for you, and likely will be for many teams this season.

Three ideas to get started (others might have more ideas as this thread continues):
  • Find/use long tests, and let the students know they might be longer - Although this might not prevent every student from cheating to get an advantage, it will allow you to see who some of your best students are. Your best students are not going to be googling "Ohm's Law" for the Circuit Lab quiz or "layers of the skin" for the Anatomy test if they know they will need all of their time. The best students will know that to get through an entire long exam, they're going to need to know/memorize the information instead of just Google it. This was a tactic used by College Board this year, and it worked well. Remember though, as I said, that this will not stop everyone from cheating. You're just going to get a better deviation of scores with a longer exam. But also, before they start, kindly let them know that the exams will be longer and that you don't expect them to finish! You're not trying to use longer exams as a scare tactic, but rather just as a test security measure.
  • Use more long-form/short response questions - On your exam, try to put questions such as "Describe the difference between the pathway of blood through the heart in a human with ABC disease and the pathway of blood through the heart of a normal human" rather than "label the heart diagram". Two main reasons I can think this will be better: you will be able to put it through a plagiarism checker if you think that the student is cheating, and it will require the student to generate text on their own, rather than simply copying from Google Images or an educational website. It is much easier for a cheater to find that heart diagram you copied and pasted from Google Images on the Internet than the answer to an essay question about a more in-depth topic.
  • Kindly tell them that if their work is found to be plagiarized, they will be punished/placed on a lower team - I'm not saying that you have to look through every answer of every submission and put it through 5 plagarism checkers to hold true to your promise. Honestly, if it sounds like the student's writing, I wouldn't put it through a plagiarism checker, because that'd only waste your time. But for some students (not all), just telling them that they will be placed on a lower team or punished if they are caught plagiarizing is enough to get them to just take the test honestly.
Again, those are just three initial thoughts I have on this topic. Best of luck to you and your team this season. :D
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Re: Maintaining Tryouts Security

Post by bearasauras » August 20th, 2020, 6:49 am

I think pepperonipi's answer is right on. The types of question and depth of knowledge required to answer the question are two important factors here. If I recall correctly from the education class I took, multiple choice questions can also be an effective way to check the student's understanding but those questions are lot more challenging to write.

And of course, we do rely on our students being honest, especially for a year like this.
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Re: Maintaining Tryouts Security

Post by Unome » August 20th, 2020, 7:14 am

You may also find it helpful to point out to them that doing well on tryouts by cheating isn't going to help them all that much, because they will then fail to do as well in competition. Making them realize that it's in their best interest not to cheat goes a long way.
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Re: Maintaining Tryouts Security

Post by AstroClarinet » August 20th, 2020, 7:33 am

Something else you could try is design tests where people are allowed to search the internet. Science Olympiad is mostly research-based, so this could be a way to test how quickly people can find correct information for their notes. People with prior knowledge would also have an advantage because they wouldn't need to waste time looking for information they already know. Of course, some sort of time limit would have to be enforced.
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Re: Maintaining Tryouts Security

Post by lumosityfan » August 20th, 2020, 9:03 am

AstroClarinet wrote:
August 20th, 2020, 7:33 am
Something else you could try is design tests where people are allowed to search the internet. Science Olympiad is mostly research-based, so this could be a way to test how quickly people can find correct information for their notes. People with prior knowledge would also have an advantage because they wouldn't need to waste time looking for information they already know. Of course, some sort of time limit would have to be enforced.
One problem with that is that the Internet is not allowed during competition. Having that be the case would not be a proper indicator of whether a person should be a part of the team.
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Re: Maintaining Tryouts Security

Post by knightmoves » August 20th, 2020, 9:32 am

You could also look at the correlation between multiple-choice easily googled facts, and long answer calculations / answers that require actual understanding, rather than a fast hand with Google. You'll probably pick out the cheaters that way.

And then don't select cheaters. You don't want dishonest people on your team.
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Re: Maintaining Tryouts Security

Post by Anonymous15 » August 24th, 2020, 5:59 am

Thank you everyone, this is really helpful! Just one more question - would you recommend allowing the use of google searching and then making the tests very long to discourage searching, or explicitly banning cheating and looking out for cheaters via their answers?

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Re: Maintaining Tryouts Security

Post by daydreamer0023 » August 24th, 2020, 11:13 am

As a college student whose professors wanted to discourage this issue (I'm old, I know), what happened was that they broke a long exam into shorter timed blocks, so you still had the same time amount overall, but it made it incredibly hard to cheat. They also made questions that they knew weren't google-able - so testing application as opposed to info grabbing would be fairly important if possible. Just a thought though. :)

I also would not allow google searching honestly and do what Pepperonipi suggested for plagiarizing. And, honestly, from grading the test, you'll probably have a good feel for who plagerized and who didn't.
Last edited by daydreamer0023 on August 24th, 2020, 11:19 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Maintaining Tryouts Security

Post by SilverBreeze » August 24th, 2020, 12:30 pm

Be extremely careful, if you are using plagiarism checkers, that it is not a binder event and that your short answer questions are not recall, but require processing. Also tell students that you will not need their answers to match the answer key exactly and (maybe?) tell them you are using a plagiarism checker.

If the student copies a phrase verbatim from a source in their binder that also happens to be online, they'll look like a cheater even though they were not actually cheating.
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