Recognizing it had a cheating problem, with students covertly texting each other answers from their pockets during a state exam, the Mississippi Department of Education paid a company to analyze tests using “data forensics,” according to the New York Times. The result? Cheating went down 70 percent, said a state ed department director.
School districts in Florida, Texas, Georgia, and Washington, D.C., have all contracted with Caveon Test Security, which was founded by a former chief developer for the SAT, to implement data forensics. The company uses computers to analyze answer sheets and spot signs of cheating, such as tests with a significant number of the same right or wrong questions, tests with more correct answers on difficult than easy questions, and unusual improvement from previous test scores. Once Caveon suspects cheating, it passes the test onto school administrators for further review.
Some are skeptical of the results, though, because Caveon hasn’t published the data forensics method in any scholarly literature. According to the Times, the company claims it has been “too busy serving clients” to do so.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.