Academic integrity in on-line exams: Evidence from a randomized field experiment

Open Access       

Authors: Flip Klijn, Mehdi Mdaghri Alaoui and Marc Vorsatz

Journal of Economic Psychology, Vol. 93, December, 2022

We study academic integrity in a final exam of a compulsory course with almost 500 undergraduate students at a major Spanish university. Confinement and university closure due to Covid-19 took place by the end of the last lecture week. As a consequence, the usual classroom exam was turned into an unproctored on-line multiple-choice exam without backtracking. We exploit the different orders of exam problems and detailed data with timestamps to study students’ academic integrity. First, taking the average over questions that were part of both earlier and later “rounds”, we find that the number of correct answers to questions in the later round was 7.7% higher than in the earlier round. Second, the average completion time of questions in the later round was 18.1% shorter than in the earlier round. Third, a mere reminder of the university’s code of ethics, which was sent to a subgroup halfway through the exam, did not affect cheating levels.

This paper originally appeared as Barcelona School of Economics Working Paper 1210