Improve Your Exam Integrity

Even instructors who set tests with the Respondus lockdown and monitor products, find that some students take advantage of the situation and use a second device to copy as well as post test questions on sites such as Chegg,, and the like, or share question and answers with their classmates.  Here are a few suggestions to help protect the integrity of your exams:

  1. Add more questions to the exams and randomize them. Leverage Blackboard pools, question sets, and add more questions than you normally would to make it more difficult for students to collude. See How to Create Question Pools and How to Pull Questions.
  2. Present questions one-at-a-time. This setting will make it more tiresome for students to post questions online.
  3. Shorten the test completion time. Determine a reasonable amount of time to complete each question and set the time accordingly.
  4. Set up a practice exam with Respondus lockdown and/or Monitor. This gives students a chance to check their configuration and reduce anxiety.
  5. Have students affirm an academic integrity statement before starting an exam.  Using Blackboard adaptive release, you can delay releasing the exam until students have viewed and marked the academic integrity statement.  See the tutorial, section IV.
  6.  Google your exam questions to see if they exist online.  If you use a publisher question bank, there is a higher chance that questions are online.  You may need to modify questions.
  7. Add a copyright watermark into exam questions.  Chegg will not allow anyone to upload an exam question to their website if there is copyright information in it.
  8. Consider an alternative assessment.  Instead of Multiple choice, True/False, or Matching exam, choose timed open-book exam, essay exam, short answer exam, progressive research paper, or transformative reflection.
  9. Delay Score Availability. Set a date after the testing window ends for students to see their score and feedback and do not make the score available for immediate view after test completion. This way, one student who finishes early cannot see their score and then advise students who have not completed the test yet. You will need to hide the corresponding column in the grade center for students not to see their scores and test questions.

Other ideas are welcomed in the comments section. If you need assistance with your test design, please contact your college Instructional Designer or team.

Photo credit: “keyboard” by tamburix is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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