Ensuring Security and Integrity of Data for Online Assessment

Ensuring Security and Integrity of Data for Online Assessment

Christine Armatas (Victoria University, Australia) and Bernard Colbert (Telstra Corporation Ltd., Australia)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-410-1.ch006
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Two challenges with online assessment are making sure data collected is secure and authenticating the data source. The first challenge relates to issues such as network security, robustness against attack and data management. The second is currently a significant impediment to widespread implementation of formal online assessment due to difficulties ensuring the identity of the person completing the assessment. In this chapter the authors discuss technical aspects associated with keeping data secure and the implications this has for delivering online assessment. The chapter also examines technologies that can assist with the issue of authenticating the identity of individuals completing online assessments and we provide some practical advice for those considering using online assessment tools. To conclude the chapter, the authors look at technologies likely to be available in the future and examine how these could be used to conduct online assessment that ensures data security and integrity without imposing an unreasonable burden on users.
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Conversations about online assessment generally reveal two schools of thought. Supporters will often talk about the flexibility online assessment provides such that students are able to take a test anywhere and at any time (Cann, 2005; Engelbrecht & Harding, 2004). Or they mention the decreased administrative and marking overheads associated with online assessment as a significant benefit (James, McInnis, & Devlin, 2002; Nicol, 2007a). Online assessment tasks can also assist educators to assess a broader range of skills, provide students with different types of assessments, including ones not easily achieved using traditional assessments methods. They can also provide students with benefits such as timely and informative feedback on their progress, as well as teaching students new skills and ways of studying and learning (James, et al., 2002). The second group most frequently point to the difficulties associated with verifying the identity of the person taking an online test, or they express concerns about how to stop cheating and the problem with networks crashing during tests. They might also be understandably concerned with protecting the confidentiality of assessment material, wanting to be sure that assessment material is not accessed by unauthorized persons, that assessment data, including student responses and grades, are not altered. What is often missing in these vigorous and important discussions is an understanding of how technology can be used to address some of the very valid concerns associated with online assessment and what additional benefits it can provide if implemented appropriately.

Dependability is the key requirement for e-assessment according to Weippl (2007), which encompasses a number of factors including availability, reliability, safety, integrity, and maintainability. He stresses that when e-assessment is used for examinations, all these aspects of dependability become critical. The assessment needs to be available when it is required, so measures should be in place to prevent attacks on availability, which are referred to as Denial of Service (DoS) attacks. Not only must the service be available when required, but there needs to be continuity of the service. Before, during and after the exam the integrity of exam questions and materials, student responses and grades need to be ensured. Any system used to deliver an online exam needs to be safe and maintainable. The essentials of secured networks include having a proper network security policy, enforcing identification, confidentiality and integrity and implementing proper compliance monitoring mechanisms (von Solms & Marais, 2004).

Complete Chapter List

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Gary Poole
Christine Spratt, Paul Lajbcygier
Chapter 1
Selby Markham, John Hurt
Reliability and validity have a well-established place in the development and implementation of educational assessment devices. With the advent of... Sample PDF
Re-Assessing Validity and Reliability in the E-Learning Environment
Chapter 2
Päivi Hakkarainen, Tarja Saarelainen, Heli Ruokamo
In this chapter the authors report on the assessment framework and practices that they applied to the e-learning version of the Network Management... Sample PDF
Assessing Teaching and Students' Meaningful Learning Processes in an E-Learning Course
Chapter 3
Charlotte Brack
Within the notion of Web 2.0, social software has characteristics that make it particularly relevant to ELearning, aligning well with a social... Sample PDF
Collaborative E-Learning Using Wikis: A Case Report
Chapter 4
Mike Hobbs, Elaine Brown, Marie Gordon
This chapter provides an introduction to learning and teaching in the virtual world Second Life (SL). It focuses on the nature of the environment... Sample PDF
Learning and Assessment with Virtual Worlds
Chapter 5
Paul White, Greg Duncan
This chapter describes innovative approaches to E-Learning and related assessment, driven by a Faculty Teaching and Learning Technologies Committee... Sample PDF
A Faculty Approach to Implementing Advanced, E-Learning Dependent, Formative and Summative Assessment Practices
Chapter 6
Christine Armatas, Bernard Colbert
Two challenges with online assessment are making sure data collected is secure and authenticating the data source. The first challenge relates to... Sample PDF
Ensuring Security and Integrity of Data for Online Assessment
Chapter 7
Robyn Benson
This chapter addresses some issues relating to the use of e-learning tools and environments for implementing peer assessment. It aims to weigh up... Sample PDF
Issues in Peer Assessment and E-Learning
Chapter 8
Paul Lajbcygier, Christine Spratt
This chapter presents recent research on group assessment in an e-learning environment as an avenue to debate contemporary issues in the design of... Sample PDF
The Validity of Group Marks as a Proxy for Individual Learning in E-Learning Settings
Chapter 9
Robert S. Friedman, Fadi P. Deek, Norbert Elliot
In order to offer a unified framework for the empirical assessment of e-learning (EL), this chapter presents findings from three studies conducted... Sample PDF
Validation of E-Learning Courses in Computer Science and Humanities: A Matter of Context
Chapter 10
Richard Tucker, Jan Fermelis, Stuart Palmer
There is considerable evidence of student scepticism regarding the purpose of team assignments and high levels of concern for the fairness of... Sample PDF
Designing, Implementing and Evaluating a Self-and-Peer Assessment Tool for E-Learning Environments
Chapter 11
Andrew Sanford, Paul Lajbcygier, Christine Spratt
A differential item functioning analysis is performed on a cohort of E-Learning students undertaking a unit in computational finance. The motivation... Sample PDF
Identifying Latent Classes and Differential Item Functioning in a Cohort of E-Learning Students
Chapter 12
Christine Armatas, Anthony Saliba
A concern with E-Learning environments is whether students achieve superior or equivalent learning outcomes to those obtained through traditional... Sample PDF
Is Learning as Effective When Studying Using a Mobile Device Compared to Other Methods?
Chapter 13
Thomas C. Reeves, John G. Hedberg
Evaluation falls into the category of those often neglected human practices such as exercise and eating right. All of us involved in education or... Sample PDF
Evaluation Strategies for Open and Distributed Learning Environments
Chapter 14
Madhumita Bhattacharya
This chapter presents a description and analysis of salient issues related to the development of an integrated e-portfolio application implemented... Sample PDF
Introducing Integrated E-Portfolio Across Courses in a Postgraduate Program in Distance and Online Education
Chapter 15
John LeBaron, Carol Bennett
Teachers and designers of computer-networked settings increasingly acknowledge that active learner engagement poses unique challenges, especially... Sample PDF
Practical Strategies for Assessing the Quality of Collaborative Learner Engagement
Chapter 16
Som Naidu
Many teachers commonly use assessment as the starting point of their teaching activities because they believe that assessment drives learning and... Sample PDF
Afterword: Learning-Centred Focus to Assessment Practices
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