Posted on: March 1, 2016
Author: Dr. Mac Adkins
How to foster a culture that promotes academic integrity image


I have always enjoyed the “Spy vs. Spy” section of Mad Magazine. If you are not familiar with it, check out the animated version.  In the wordless comic strip, two spies battle it out against each other. The spies are identical except for one is dressed in black and the other in white. The comic strip is entertaining because every time one spy is confident that he has foiled the plans of the other spy some new technique or technology will be introduced to reverse the outcome.

Those of us in the industry of exam proctoring can identify with this. Just when we get good at preventing cheating with one strategy, the students come up with another strategy. Once it was sufficient to not allow students to have their cell phones with them during testing. But now there are various forms of wearable technology that can be used to cheat. Sometimes it seems that even our best efforts only serve to keep the honest students honest. When a student is intent on cheating, they often seem to find a new way.

So what can be done to foster a culture that promotes academic integrity? Following are a few suggestions:

Exam Proctoring Blog Title


  • CURRENT TECHNOLOGY – Rest assured that students will take advantage of the latest technology in their efforts to cheat. So test administrators must also stay informed about emerging technologies and their impact on testing integrity.
  • HONOR CODE – Each educational institution which measures mastery through assessment should issue an honor code to their students so that the students understand the expectations relative to academic integrity. One of the most common excuses that students make when confronted with a testing integrity violation is that “no one told me that doing this was wrong.” Students must understand how they should act with honor and integrity as well as the rules of what is and is not allowed. A part of the honor code should be the ramifications and punishments for violations.
  • INTEGRITY TRAINING – Students have differing perceptions about which behaviors are acceptable. A training program should affirm and encourage those actions which are honorable and inform students about the actions that are not honorable and the ramifications both professionally and academically.
  • FACULTY INVOLVEMENT – When a faculty member is actively engaged in a course then the student is more likely to feel that cheating is a violation of that relationship. When a course is taught in a fully automated fashion then the human element is removed and the student may feel that that they are not letting any particular person down if they cheat.
  • MULTI-MODAL APPROACH – Just like the spies, when students take all of their exams in the same context, they will begin to notice weaknesses and attempt to exploit them. It is a good practice for a school to provide several modalities of proctoring and not allow students to do all of their testing with one modality. Examples of testing modalities include – instructor as proctor, testing in a testing center, testing with an approved proctoring professional (I.e. A human resources officer in a corporation), automated-virtual proctoring and live-virtual proctoring. Tools such as facilitate the work flow management in a multi-modal environment.

Join us for a webinar on Wednesday, May 18 at 1:00 PM Central for a discussion of these and other issues related to testing integrity. A description of the webinar content is below.

When our organizations award CEUs for the completion of a course we desire for that CEU to be a valid credential. When an individual receives a CEU for a course on any topic we want that CEU to convey an expected level of mastery of the competencies taught in that course. In some cases for our organizations to be confident that the individual possesses that level of mastery we need to assess the levels of learning using an exam. To further validate the level of mastery in some cases it is appropriate for the exam to be given in a controlled environment through a proctor. Historically many continuing education organizations have been resistant to proctoring exams in CEU courses because of the associated costs. However, over the past five years numerous technologies have been developed that utilize various technologies to monitor, record, and review test taker activity. Because some of these tools are fully automated, the cost of deploying a proctored exam are substantially lower than they once were. Dr. Mac Adkins is a leading researcher in the field of testing integrity. In this webinar he will provide an overview of the various modes of exam proctoring that are currently available. He will also share the results of the Annual Survey on Testing Integrity and Learner Authentication.

View Dr. Adkins webinar in the IACET Members Only Area.



About the Author

 About The Author

Dr. Mac Adkins from SmarterSolutionsDr. Mac Adkins is the founder and President of SmarterServices. Since 2002 he has lead the company as it has grown to serve over three million students and twelve thousand faculty from over five hundred educational institutions. He has been a higher education administrator for over twenty years and served as a Director/Dean of Distance Education for ten of those years. During his administrative career in higher education he has also served as a Director of Enrollment Management, Director of Student Services, Director of Instructional Design, and Data Analyst in the Department of Institutional Research. He taught in the online doctoral program of Capella University for eleven. years.

He also serves as a course reviewer for the International Distance Education Certification Center. For IDECC he authored, designed and delivers the Certified Distance Education Instructor (CDEI) program. He was instrumental in the founding of two distance learning programs at Troy University and Amridge University.

Dr. Adkins received his Doctor of Education degree from Auburn University in 1998. His major for the degree was Educational Leadership with a minor in Instructional Technology. He is a frequent speaker at educational conferences and serves on the review board for the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration.

Tell your network about this post


Social Media