Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"Cheaters Find an Adversary in Technology"

This article, published in the New York Times on December 27, 2010, describes Caveon Test Security, a company that finds cheating in standardized tests by using "data forensics." The description of the tug-of-war between test designers/givers and test takers (especially would-be cheats) is intriguing on its own, but what does this have to do with pervasive information technology? Consider a case of state-wide testing:
With more than 100,000 students tested, proctors could not watch everyone - not when some teenagers can text with their phones in their pockets.
One of Caveon's clients is the Law School Admission Council. One of the challenges for the LSAT is that students who have recently completed the exam discuss the test online. Caveon "patrols the Internet for leaked questions." (The article doesn't say what it does with what it finds.)

Two pervasive technologies - texting and the World Wide Web - are cited as tools for cheating. Another technology (or bundle of technologies) is used to detect and prevent cheating. Is this an arms race, or will an equilibrium be achieved? You tell me.

Ken Pimple, PAIT Project Director

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