Academic Integrity through e-authentication and authorship verification for e-assessment: impact study

Okada, Alexandra and Whitelock, Denise (2019). Academic Integrity through e-authentication and authorship verification for e-assessment: impact study. In: 7th International Assessment in Higher Education Conference, 2 Jul 2019, Manchester UK.


This work provides the findings of a large study about e-authentication and authorship verification for e-assessment. Our aims were to identify the stakeholders’ views about the TeSLA platform and suggest recommendations. This study draws primarily on pre- and post-intervention questionnaires completed by a total of 4,058 students, including 330 SEND students, and 54 educators from the seven TeSLA pilot universities. In addition, 7 pilot coordinators, 7 technical professionals and 7 institutional leaders from the partner universities provided extra data through 3 questionnaires.

The overall experience with the TeSLA instruments was positive for more than 50% of the students from all partner universities, with more than 70% considering the key advantages of e-assessment with e-authentication to be: “to ensure that my examination results are trusted” and “to prove that my essay is my own original work”. Two recommendations were highlighted for students. First, clarifying academic malpractices about plagiarism and cheating including explanations to foster academic integrity. Second, promoting discussion about data security and privacy with students to increase their willingness in sharing personal data.

Various teaching staff agreed they were satisfied with the TeSLA experience. Most of the participants received technical support and two institutions mentioned that issues should be satisfactory solved. The recommendations were providing teaching staff with in-time technical support and pedagogical guidance. The technical teams provided various suggestions for institution interested in the TeSLA system: good communication with end-users, documentation, sufficient capacity, cloud solution and training. The course coordinators presented some benefits of using e-authentication such as new types of assessments and the opportunities of increasing trust of e-assessment by reducing cheating and academic malpractice. The recommendations were to provide access to the results of e-authentication and authorship verification, including the effectiveness of the TeSLA system.

Six leaders would be willing to adopt an e-authentication system (e.g. TeSLA) for their institution. Three leaders would buy an e-authentication and anti-plagiarism system for providing enhanced flexibility and possibilities of e-assessments that are trustful. Their expectations were to obtain a user-friendly system, usable product, well-documented references, information about how the tools work and guidelines for interpreting results and detecting cheating. The positive effect of TeSLA on new kind of assessments with possibilities and alternatives for students including SEND were observed by all institutions. To support academic integrity with TeSLA platform, the requirements highlighted by participants were: fast communication of solutions and results of e-authentication, training for the adoption of TeSLA in the universities and sharing institutional regulations for integrating e-authentication system in the educational process, to ensure trust with success rates of fraud detection.

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