Cheating in Quizmaker

Summary: Making some basic changes to your quizzes can make it more difficult for your students to cheat.
Difficulty: Medium

 


Cheating, be it on Wall Street or in the classroom, does seem to be a fact of life or a facet of human nature but when it is your learners who are cheating on the course that you spent a lot of effort designing, you might suddenly become less indulgent. And let’s face it, there are a number of ways to cheat in Quizmaker if you, the designer, let them get away with it.

 

Take this quiz for example. It is a question about when I was born. There are two questions and unless you happen to be very clever or very lucky, you are unlikely to get both answers correct, though it is statistically possible of course!

 

View quiz

 

But there are at least three ways to cheat in this quiz…

Cheat 1

  • Did you notice the review button at the end? Well it does not take a lot of genius to understand that if you review the quiz, you will automatically see which answers are correct and which are not, which means, of course, that you can take the quiz again and pass.

Cheat 2

  • Print the certificate and it tells you which questions are right or wrong. There is nothing to stop you taking the quiz a second time and getting full marks.

Cheat 3

  • Find someone who gets the right results and then just click the Print Results button without even taking the quiz. You get asked to enter your name which you do and hey presto, the certificate prints out your name with the correct answers and a pass mark.

So what can I do about it?

Well if all that sounds rather depressing, do not despair. You can stop all of that cheating if you follow the steps below. It might not be necessary of course. It all depends on your context. But if you have a sneaking suspicion that is something is afoot with your results, and that your students are really doing too well, then read on!

STEP 1

Change the color scheme so that the Review Quiz function will NOT show which answers are correct. Actually this won’t work for all question types so if security is a big issue, you might want to actually avoid using those question types.

How do you do it?

  • In Quizmaker 2, go to Edit -> Colors and Effects.
  • Change the ‘Correct color’ so that it matches the ‘Background color’ of your quiz.
  • Now publish.

You’ll see that when you review the answers, you won’t be able to see the correct answers any more!

Here’s the example above corrected:

 

View quiz

Note: This will not work for all question types in particular the Word Bank and sequencing questions.

 

STEP 2

If you want the quiz certificate or printed results to be personalized, then DON’T let them put their name in at the end of the course when the results are known. Make them enter their name at the beginning. That way, anybody wanting to copy will have to do the whole quiz themselves.

How do you do it?

Simply add a Survey type question to the beginning of your quiz asking for the required information. You can add several questions if you like. Because they are survey questions, there is no scoring and so the final result will not be affected. BUT the answers will show on the print results output. So you will know who did the test. Here’s an example:

 

View quiz

 

Notice that I have removed the option to add the user name when printing results (Quizmaker -> Quiz Properties -> Results -> Features). Now, when you view the certicate, you see the name and other details at the beginning of the quiz reponses.

STEP 3


Change the course certificate such that the correct answers are not displayed. This won’t prevent cheating totally but it will make it more difficult for the student to go back round a second time.

How do you do it?

You need to edit the report.xml file in the Quizmaker published files or program files. Here are how your published files may look:

 

 

An application which I find useful for editing xml and one which allows me to specify which lines to edit is Notepad2.exe which you can download here (choose the first binary files download). It is open source and free and, like me, you might find it useful.

If you open report.html with Notepad2.exe rather than the standard Windows Notepad, you’ll see that all the lines are numbered.

To remove the correct answers from the certificate you need to delete the following lines:

Line 143

 

Line 267

 

Here is an example with an amended certificate:

 

View quiz

 

NOTE:

One drawback with this approach is that you keep having to changed the published files which can be a hassle if you want to publish to a server. An alternative to the above is to actually changed the report.html file in the program files.

  • Go to Program Files\Articulate\Articulate Quizmaker\player\web\ and you will find the same report.html file as in the published files.
  • Take a backup copy of that file and call in report_copy.html and then edit the report.html as before.

Now, every time you publish, the report.html will automatically have those changes included without you having to edit the published files every time.

FINAL TEST

So here is a final quiz. You know what day I was born, you know what time I was born, now, can you find what date I was born? If you get the answers right, then the quiz will tell you, but if you don’t, it won’t, and you won’t be able to cheat!

 

View quiz

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10 thoughts on “Cheating in Quizmaker

Add yours

  1. Thanks so much for this post! This is something I’ve been battling for quite sometime. It always seemed a little suspect having almost all participants get 100%:)

  2. Hi Dave,

    I’m hoping you can offer some insight.

    Is there a way to add a customized attachment button to the upper menu bar in an engage interaction?

    I have a moderately sized couse with several Tab interactions. One of them, needs to have an attachment in it. I’m using the slide only view in presenter as this is what my customer wants, so I can’t pursue that avenue. Is there a way to create a button on only one, possibly two tab upper menu bars that link to a document?

    Currenty, the next slide button’s text is “main menu” as this directs the learner to a static ppt page containing a menu. If, I could add one more “next slide’ button, have it link to a static ppt slide, I could add a hyperlink to an attachment. Unfortuantely, I have to keep the main menu button as is in the interaction.

    Or, is the solution to add a customized attachment button to the presenter player that links to an attachment so as not to lose the slide only view? I’m not a programmer, so I’d have no idea where to start.

    Any input/suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated.

    Lisa

  3. I just did the changes to my quizmaker 2.2 and I didn’t get the answer on the essay on the printout. I delet ed the correct lines and double checked on that.
    All I got was the page with the scores on it, and of course no name at all
    Can you help?

  4. Did one need to turn on quiz review for this to work?
    I thought that this step was independent from quiz re view, maybe that is where I went wrong.

  5. Hi Mary, Yes this is a known issue in Quizmaker 2. You will need to show the Quiz Review to get the Print Results to work. As explained in the article, you can adapt the Quiz Review colors so that people will not see the correct answers when they review what they have done (unless of course they chose the right answer when doing the test).

  6. Lisa, as I explained in a mail I sent to you from Articulate Support, I don’t see a way of doing what you need other than creating a hyperlink in the step itself and including the attachment that way. You would use the name of the file as the hyperlink address and then copy the attachment to the same location and same level as the engage.swf file.

  7. Hi Dave,

    We’re doing what you illustrate in your example, using a survey question to collect the test taker’s name. We’re doing this so we can unambiguously identify students who take our exams. Without going into too much detail here, our exams are “public” access so that they can be accessed by test takers from our LMS. We have a guestbook set up, but we’re finding that the data collected is not reliable, especially if 2 students take an exam from the same computer, and do not restart the browser for each exam.

    My comment / question is that when we add this survey question to the beginning of the exam, as you illustrate, this introduces two problems:

    1) We can no longer randomize the presentation of our questions since the survey question MUST appear first

    2) The question numbering for our exam is thrown off by 1. So for a 20 question exam, the survey question is question 1, and the actual exam questions are 2-21.

    Any suggestions or ideas on how we can work around these problems?

    Thanks,
    Joel Marks
    Curriculum Manager – Enterprise Voice Solutions
    3Com

  8. Hi Joel,

    Well you might find the easiest way to workaround your problems is to upgrade to Quizmaker ’09 assuming you haven’t already. Upgrading will at least allow you to solve issue 1 since it is possible in Quizmaker ’09 to lock questions to specific places (including the beginning) and randomize the other questions. You can also create groups and randomize one group and not the other. Neither of these are possible in Quizmaker 2.

    Regarding issue 2, the only thing I can think of right off is to actually hide the slide numbers altogether which you can do in both Quizmaker 2 and ’09 via the Quiz Properties -> Quiz Settings in Quizmaker 2 and Player Templates -> Layout in Quizmaker ’09.

  9. Too bad it doesn’t work like th old QM! I was told that it was a bug that the results page was printed w/o the questions/answers. We chose not to show results, then it worked! We just got the results feedback with scores…no questions. Why the change? OR Why couldn’t there be a check box to include or not include questions? Too bad…thanks for the work around tho..will have to look into this.

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