Detection of Test Collusion using Cluster Analysis

Authored by: James A. Wollack , Dennis D. Maynes

Handbook of Quantitative Methods for Detecting Cheating on Tests

Print publication date:  October  2016
Online publication date:  October  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138821804
eBook ISBN: 9781315743097
Adobe ISBN: 9781317588108


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Over the past 10 to 15 years, the educational measurement literature has seen a marked increase in the number of articles related to test security. In particular, substantial attention has been focused on detection of answer copying (Belov & Armstrong, 2009; Sotaridona & Meijer, 2003; van der Linden & Sotaridona, 2004, 2006; Wesolowsky, 2000; Wollack, 1997), prevention of item disclosure in a computerized adaptive testing environment (Chang & Ying, 1999; Chen & Lei, 2005; Davey & Par-shall, 1995; Doong, 2009; Impara, Kingsbury, Maynes, & Fitzgerald, 2005; Leung, Chang, & Hau, 2002; Nering, Davey, & Thompson, 1998; Stocking & Lewis, 1998; Stocking & Swanson, 1993; van der Linden, 2003; Yi & Chang, 2003), and detection of item preknowledge, typically using response-time data (Belov, 2014, 2015; McLeod & Lewis, 1999; Meijer & Sotaridona, 2006; Shu, Henson, & Leucht, 2013; van der Linden, 2009; van der Linden & Guo, 2008; van der Linden & van Krimpen-Stoop, 2003; and van Krimpen-Stoop & Meijer, 2001). One area that has been underrepresented in the test security literature is the detection of test collusion among multiple examinees, or sets of examinees with unusual answer patterns in common. The lack of research in this area is somewhat surprising in light of the fact that this type of organized test security breach can seriously jeopardize the integrity of testing programs. Examples of collusion include illicit coaching by a teacher or test-prep school, examinees accessing stolen test content posted on the World Wide Web, examinees communicating about test answers during an exam, examinees harvesting and sharing exam content using e-mail or the Internet, and teachers or administrators changing answers after tests have been administered. 1

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