Illustration by Andrew Lam

Test monitoring provides benefits for students, teachers

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As a result of distance learning being the new normal, educational instruction, which includes tests, is being delivered online. Teachers need to monitor tests in order for them to enforce their non-tolerance policy and assess student understanding.  

No matter what learning environment students and teachers are in, there is one constant rule: cheating comes with great consequences. It includes receiving a zero on the particular assignment, parents and school administration being informed, documenting cheating into the student’s academic records, potentially leading to expulsion, and cheating oneself out of their education. Expectations for testing in this virtual environment should be no different compared to expectations set for a classroom environment. By ensuring academic honesty, students are discouraged from adapting these habits in the future. 

When teachers analyze data regarding students’ performance on tests, it helps them better understand a student’s progress throughout the school year. In an unmonitored test, however, students may give disingenuous responses, and then the data loses its purpose as an indicator of a student’s progress. Under distance learning, authentic responses are very essential because they show what the teacher might have to cover again and how they should teach a certain concept in the future. 

Admittedly, there are drawbacks to monitoring students during exams. When teachers monitor testing, students may feel stressed, which could negatively impact their performance. However, this is not something that students have not experienced since teachers already monitor them when testing in the classroom. Proctoring tests through Zoom is no different. In addition, if students studied efficiently and asked for assistance when needed, a test should not be a problem. Location, whether it is home or a classroom, should play little to no role in this situation. 

Despite being in different learning circumstances, cheating policies on tests must remain the same. Teachers need to monitor students like they did in their classrooms to ensure students develop better habits. There is software, like the College Board’s Secure Lockdown Browser, that allows teachers to administer tests and restrict students to one designated browser until the test is complete. Through test data analyses, teachers can make sure test results accurately represent students’ academic knowledge. This, in turn, provides teachers with more insight on how to modify teaching styles and lesson plans according to overall class performance. 

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