Connected Test-Taking: Is It Cheating?

I recently wrote a post called “Connected Test-Taking: Is It Cheating?” at the Voices from the Learning Revolution.

Would you like to have access to the internet when taking your exam?

Since our school has been chosen to participate in a national trial for using the internet during examinations, l attended a meeting at the “Utdanningsdirektoratet” Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training to learn more about the project and how to prepare students, teachers, and our ICT tech department. I went to the meeting full of enthusiasm and was surprised to learn that many of the other participants were very skeptical. In fact, some didn’t seem that eager to participate at all. When you invite a bunch of ICT people (here meaning the tech people how are almost always guys!) into a room and start discussing the use of laptops in the classroom it usually ends up with a depressing discussion about cheating and how we should never trust the students. You often leave meetings like that quite frustrated with the notion that all students want to cheat and that they are quite devious about doing it too!I

2012 – 21st-century skills?

I refuse to think like that. I refuse to think that we should carry on testing the way we are now! I know I’m not being naive here. It’s 2012. The Internet has been widely available and expanding exponentially for 20 years or more. Why is looking up information during an exam or test considered cheating? When preparing posts for this blog I rely on information found online. That is the way everyone works these days. No one is expected to know or remember all the facts and information available out there. We should be testing  “21st-century skills” meaning core competencies such as collaboration, digital literacy, critical thinking, and problem-solving.

Learning from your students?

I think it is great that we are able to test using the internet during exams. I look forward to discussing this with my students before and after the exam. They have already written about this on their blogs and that is a great way to find out what they think about the topic and to learn more about all the different ways to use the internet when writing. Like Sara wrote:  When writing, I also try to avoid using the same words repeatedly. I’ll often use  Google to find synonyms. For example, I could write “Lucky + synonym”. It gives me 184,000 results, in 0.29 seconds. Now I know that other alternatives to the word “lucky”, could be: advantageous, beneficial, blessed, serendipitous, or fortunate. Sometimes I like to finish with a good question or quote, like this one that I found at

Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach that person to use the Internet and they won’t bother you for weeks.  ~Author Unknown


  1. Ann I couldnt agree more with your post – especially about 21st century skills. The focus need not be on teaching ’21st century skills’ to students because they are exposed to this if good teaching practice just happens. the 21st century skills we need to focus on are those of the teacher. not just in using technology, but better assessment skills based upon the abilities of their own students. 21st century skills should be about teachers recognising the technology of their students, actually asking the right questions, feeding back in the best way and basing their assessment criteria on the tools at students fingertips, the process a student goes through to respond and how they do so.

  2. Thanks for commenting Alastair! Yes, we need to work with the teachers, that is so true! If they can’t see the benefit of moving forward it becomes a challenge for school leaders too!

  3. Ann, I agree 100% and am thinking about how to make this work in my class as well. I would love to hear more about how it’s working for you. I am not there yet but I am taking baby-steps and envision a future where my students have textbooks, internet, each other etc. at their disposal. This involves a major rearrangement of how we assess and I would love to talk to you more about it in November!

    1. Me too Kara! Interesting topic to discuss, hope we will see a change soon. Sweden should be trying this too! Will contact you soon about speaking at our conference the 1st of November!

I would love to hear from you