Bad genius and test cheating prevention

By: Tonya Mead, CFE, CHFI,  PI, MBA, MA Educational Psychology

Teachers in Haiti are taking great lengths to prevent student cheating on standardized assessments. Last week, a public relations initiative by the Normal School of Teachers, Philo, the Centers for Family Education, and the Departmental Director of the North seized 444 cell phones. Officials posted photos of the confiscated devices and warned students of the disciplinary consequences of fraud.

Similarly, here in the US, West Virginia University students “were caught using Apple watches to cheat on a freshman chemistry exam. ” [para 1].

These events serve as non-fictional reference points for us to better understand Lynne, the fictional heroine in the movie,  Bad Genius. The film is receiving rave reviews for bringing “Mission Impossible” suspense to something as mundane as test taking [para 9].

So while test cheating should not be condoned under any circumstances, it is encouraging to find that movie producers, investors, and general public are convinced of its pervasiveness in modern society.

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Test Security for the Prevention of Cheating

As the Haitian Normal School of Teachers and West Virginia University officials determined, disciplinary action is paramount for prevention. However, it is reactive and not proactive. I’ve presented to faculty and staff,  prevention program designs for implementation at the school and university level. For the entire presentation, see  the 2014 International Academic Integrity Conference. For brevity, I will summarize below.

1.Establish an Institutional Policy
2.Educate stakeholders on Institutional  Policy
3.Find a Champion(s) to Lead the New Initiative
4.Enforce the Institutional Policy
5.Integrate Deterrence, Detection,  Investigation and Resolution into  Current Infrastructure or Create New  One
6.Assign Staff Roles and Responsibilities
7. Establish the Process and Procedures for

  • Deterring
  • Detecting
  • Investigating
  • Resolving

8. Introduce Administrative Due Process
9. Celebrate Progress
10.Evaluate using Data and Expect Evolution

Thanks for reading. By the way, if you decide to see Bad Genius, please drop me a note to share your thoughts.

Tonya J. Mead, CFE, CHFI, PI, MBA, MA, Certified K-12 Administrator and School Psychologist is author of Fraud in Education: Beyond the Wrong Answer and president of Shared Knowledge, LLC