Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Test Security on Chromebooks

Recently, a colleague asked about how to secure Chromebooks during on demand writing prompts and other assessments. Here is an excerpt of her question.

I much prefer to have my students type their essays.  So much easier to grade that way without having to decipher handwriting!
But this time I gave the students the prompts in advance so they could do some preparation, but I still expect the essay to be on-demand.  I'm worried that even though I'll be watching them, I won't be able to catch a kid who already has something typed up and is jumping back and forth to it.  
Do you have any suggestions?
For what it is worth, here is my response.

Enforcing test security is difficult, at best. Soon, it will become more difficult, if not impossible. Sony was recently awarded a patent for a contact lens that captures video. In a short while, students will be wearing and using technology no one can observe or monitor. That makes my first suggestion that much more important.
  • Have frank conversations with your students about ethical considerations, honesty, and integrity (a core value). Students will appreciate the acknowledgment that you know they can burn you on a test, but that you are calling on their sense of responsibility to fair play. Let them know you expect incredible, authentic, honest products.
  • Expand the revision history in Google Docs where you suspect foul play. Did entire paragraphs appear in the span of 1 minute? That's a sure sign of a copy and paste.
  • Distribute writing prompts in a Google Document that has a watermark, colored cell, or other visual cue that lets you easily confirm that students are viewing the appropriate page.
  • Position your students and yourself so that you can view every screen. This might mean temporarily rearranging desks or repositioning yourself during the performance period.
  • Distribute a half dozen additional, potential writing prompts instead of just the actual writing prompts. It will be more difficult to pre-write a solid response for all prompts.
  • Be firm about mobile devices. Have a cell phone jail or similarly effective policy to eliminate their use during the performance period.
  • There are various ways to place a Chromebook into a restricted kiosk test mode. Reach out to your IT department to help implement an option that might work well for you.