Texas A&M University-Commerce (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 332-336
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
In the United States, during the fall 2007 semester, approximately 3.94 million students took at least one online course, representing a 19.7% growth rate for online enrollments (Allen & Seaman, 2008). As a result of the accelerated growth, academic institutions have seen an increase in coursework plagiarism from Internet sources (Buchanan, 2006). Academic honesty has been a major issue that instructors struggle with in regards to online testing (Khare & Lam, 2008). The substantial growth of test takers using the Internet for distance or remote assessment have led to several issues related to administration standards, testing controls, and testing security (Bartram, 2001).

The increased growth of Internet test takers, the globalization of testing, and a lack of provision for good training could result in a growth of bad practice, causing psychological and educational testing to be discredited (Bartram, 2001). The importance of test design has been explored to find out how many answer options are actually reasonable and would a smaller number of answer options work the same (Tversky, 1964). Measurement textbooks have recommended the use of four or five answer options for multiple choice tests (Tversky, 1964). Evidence has shown that a three answer option worked well for university students enrolled in an introductory psychology course (Delgado & Prieto, 1998). The three answer option multiple choice tests also worked well with entrance examinations given to prospective students at a university in Japan (Shizuka, Takeuchi, Yashima, & Yoshizawa, 2006).

Altering the position of answer options on multiple choice tests has also been explored for possible effect significance related to item difficulty, with outcomes showing significant erratic effects on item performance (Cizek, 1994). A study was conducted to examine the effectiveness of four-option item tests and the impact of removing the worst option from the list. The study found that the three-option format was as valid as the four-option format. The three-option format was the better choice when taking into account the savings of time and energy (Delgado & Prieto, 1998).

The use of online testing is a technology that various educational institutions are implementing as a way of assessing student performance. Instructors at many educational institutions are using standard publisher test banks in their online courses without the use of altered test formatting, resulting in the potential for students to cheat on online tests. Literature has shown test bank alteration may be a potential solution to lapses in integrity and may decrease student cheating on online tests. Comparing altered versus nonaltered test question versions in online courses could prove useful to educators and administrators as a means of testing and assessing students in their online courses.
altering, online assessments, proctored, testing.