Presentation () - Association of International Education



Presentation () - Association of International Education
Fighting Back Against
Fraud in the Academic Space
Michelle Hampton, Educational Testing Service
Margit Schatzman, Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc.
John J. Wood, University at Buffalo (SUNY)
Session Outline
Examine Fraud in the following Academic
- Standardized Testing
- Credentials Evaluation
- Institutional
- Group discussion of Best Practices
Testing Fraud Has Changed Over
• Low tech
• High tech
• Individual misconduct • Global scale, across
time zones
• Localized action
• Organized rings and
individual misconduct
• Big business
New challenges require new tools and
The TOEFL® Test Approach to
ETS takes test security extremely seriously
and uses a three-pronged approach to protect
test integrity
Security - Prevention
Test design – reduce item memorization
Encrypted test delivery/return of results
Training and certification of test center staff
Digital test day photo provided on score
5. Test taker photo appears on assigned
computer at start of test and at break
Security - Detection
1. When there are concerns about score validity
Review individual scores
Review test center scores
Voice analysis, handwriting analysis
Other confidential measures
Biometric Voice Identification
Uses statistical pattern-matching techniques,
advanced voice classification methods and input
from multiple systems to compare speech
samples from TOEFL® test takers
– Introduced in 2012 for security investigations
– Since February 8, 2014 now used on all test takers
worldwide before scores are released
Biometric Voice Identification
Detects impersonation in three ways:
– Potential impersonators within a test center
Compare voiceprints with speech samples for all test
takers in a given test center
– Repeat test takers
Compare voiceprints with speech samples across
multiple administrations for the same test centers
– Known impersonators within a group
Compare voiceprints with speech samples of known
imposters to all test takers within a suspect group
Additional Measures
– Implementation of electronic wands at all test
centers worldwide to detect electronic
photographic, audio or recording devices
– New techniques to ensure the authenticity of testtaker photographs
– Requirements of second-generation government
ID document in China
– Always piloting new measures - i.e., facial
Security - Detection
2. When policy or procedural irregularities are
– Scores are canceled
– Test center is closed
– Scores from previous administrations are reviewed
– Institutions are informed
Security - Communication
1. When scores are cancelled, ETS contacts all
institutions designated by the student to receive
2. Communication from institutions with concerns
about possibly fraudulent scores helps our
3. Every concern is investigated by the Office of
Testing Integrity (OTI)
4. ETS notifies you with the results of any
Security - Communication
Ways to reach the Office of Testing Integrity
Email: [email protected]
Security Hotline: 1-800-750-6991
Assisting Institutions
The TOEFL® Program revised its policies and
procedures to assist institutions
– Eliminated student permission requirement to tell
institution why a score has been cancelled
– Simplified process for institutions to learn why a score
has been canceled
– Provided new data fields to score reports: ID type, last
four digits of ID number and issuing country
– Free test vouchers available for universities where
scores are canceled for students already on campus
The Fight Against Fraud is Never
No single form of prevention or detection will work for all
kinds of fraud
– Cheating attempts have become increasingly sophisticated
– Constantly evolving technology enables new forms of fraud
– Individuals and organized rings constantly changing tactics
ETS continually works to develop new tools and strategies to
combat fraud
We welcome your help
Responding to Test Fraud
The following have been reported by institutions as
actions they have taken when scores were canceled due
to inappropriate behavior:
Ask ETS for the letter given to the test taker
Call in the student and ask for an explanation
Require retesting since the score is no longer valid
Require the student to do an intensive English program if
studies are not going well due to language
– Expulsion
Fighting fraud in the credential
evaluation process…
• Develop consistent approach
– Carefully designed documentation requirements
• Promote appropriate expertise
– High resolution image scanning and tracking of
document forensics
• Verify documents
• Follow up with appropriate actions
The Fraud We See…
Document Alteration
The Fraud We See…
Document Fabrication
The Fraud We See…
Diploma Mills
Institute Safer Document Policies
• Request a full educational history supported by a full set of
official documentation
• Request documents to be sent directly from the issuing
institution (if possible)
– Request documents issued in the official language of the country
(known exceptions: US-based educational systems, e.g. Taiwan,
Philippines etc.)
• Request original documents for closer review
– Offer safe document return procedures
• Send documents for verification
Review Institution and Program Status
• Identify the recognition status of the institution
– Recognized institutions
– Unrecognized institutions
– Diploma mills
• Identify the program status
– Program offered at the time of study
– Name of qualification awarded
– Transnational program arrangements
Analyze Credentials
• Develop a check-list that will help investigate the following:
Applicant personal data and educational chronology
Source of document
Document appearance
Document content
• Do not give in to applicant’s pressure (pressing deadlines,
missing or unacceptable documents)
• Retain sample credentials for future comparison
• Note your observations for future reference when document
is being held up for verification
Verify Documents
• Keep verification letters brief and to the point!
– Use form letters and native language if possible for best results
• Write to the issuing institution
– Address the letter to the person who normally is in charge of issuing
– Avoid using specific person’s names
• Ask only reliable sources for assistance in obtaining contact
– Do not accept contact information from the student unless it can be
verified through official resources
• Say “thank you” when you receive a response!
Online Verifications
Government databases
Private or government agency services
Individual institution databases
Lists of graduates/lists of results
Government Database
• On-line database available for diplomas awarded in
the current (plastic) format beginning 1998
• Now website available in English
• Free registration required to set up account
• Use login to access Verification service
• Green = positive result
• Red = negative result
(Data input page for online
Sample forgery
(confirmed negative on-line verification result)
WAEC Online Verification
Candidate must buy a scratch card in person
Information on where cards can be purchased is
found on the respective websites
Additional access details, like how to use the card, are
given on the websites
For exams taken prior to the online system, students
must request a Statement of Results / Confirmation of
Results to be sent directly to a third party
WAEC Scratch Card
WAEC result checker
records available from 1991
Example of Results
Individual Institution Verification
(Peking University on-line verification)
 graduate program verification (The system functions
in both English and Chinese.)
 Works mostly for credentials issued after 1990.
 undergraduate program verification
 (credentials from 1981 to
 Only functions in Chinese. The top link is for graduation
certificates, the bottom link is for degree certificates
 The database does not include double majors, medical
majors and adult education programs, for those they
provide contact phone numbers.
Peking University
Graduate School verification
Government Agency Service
(China – CHESICC)
Government Agency Service
China - CDGDC
 China Academic Degrees & Graduate Education
Development Center (CDGDC)
 Website:
China Academic Degrees & Graduate Education
Development Center (CDGDC)
Credential Department
B 18, Tongfang Scientific Building
No. 1 Wangzhuang Road, Haidian District
Beijing 100083
People’s Republic of China
 Fax: (008610) 82379491
E-mail: [email protected]
CDGDC Verification Report
Background colors:
 BLUE = Verification confirms
authentic documents
 PINK = Verification confirms
fraudulent documents
 YELLOW = Duplicate Verification
Individual Institution Verification
Online Verification of UNAM transcript
Undergraduate: and click
Graduate: go to enter the Numero
de cuenta and the students birthdate (NIP) to access their
Numero de cuenta (without dashes,
start with zero for pre-2000
Usually, it’s the DOB (ddmmyyyy),
but student can reset it. Ask for NIP
if it’s been reset.
Lists of Graduates
Iraq – links to graduate listings online
Online Verification System
Individual Institution
Verification Database
Canada – Ryerson University
Online Exam Results
Cameroon – Ministry of Higher Education
National Examinations
Institutional Perspective
1. What are universities looking for in the
admissions process?
2. Preventing/detecting fraud in:
• Academic records
• Essays and recommendations
3. Avoiding fraud on campus: promoting and
enforcing academic integrity
What are universities looking for
when they admit students?
Potential for success
A specific academic profile
Potential to contribute to class profile
Potential to enrich campus and community
In other words, a good “match”
Problem of Fraud
1. “Matches” based on fraud serve no one
2. Students perpetrating fraud are more likely to
fail in the long term
3. Agents and counselors committing fraud on
student’s behalf betray student and the
4. Institution can suffer harm also
Avoiding Fraud
with Academic Records
1. Using a credential evaluation service confers
the highest level of security and least risk to
2. Next best thing is to have in-house
expertise—know what to expect, what to look
3. Verify when possible and use a holistic
Tips to Avoid Fraud
1. Accept documents only from entity
authorized to issue them
2. Require submission in official, properly
sealed envelopes
3. Board exam results should be submitted
directly to the institution
Essays and Personal Statements
1. Purpose of these documents should be clear
for both the applicant and the institution
2. Is content, language proficiency, personal
motivation, etc the primary consideration?
3. Question of authenticity: “Who wrote this?”
Tips to Avoid Fraud
1. Be sure purpose and expectations are clear
2. Be sure writing prompt is clear
3. Indicate how the piece of writing will be
Tips to Avoid Fraud
1. Alert applicants to format/style requirements,
use of anti-plagiarism software; reference
appropriate tools/resources
2. Be very clear about consequences of fraud
(plagiarism, omission of information, etc)
What to Watch for
1. Font changes, inconsistent spelling (US vs.
UK), lack of coherence
2. Inconsistency between quality of writing and
submitted test scores and grades
3. Uncited concepts, terms, theories that derive
from recently published work
1. One to three letters is standard (for graduate
2. Checklist of applicant’s academic attributes
3. Narrative section
4. Applicant agreement not to have access to
Tips to Avoid Fraud
1. Be clear about what type of recommendation
is desired (academic vs. professional)
2. Check that recommendation supports other
parts of the application
3. Confirm relationship of applicant and
4. Verify recommendations
Promoting Academic Integrity
1. Be sure institution has explicit and consistent
policies on academic integrity and process for
handling violations, with penalties made clear
2. Alert students pre-arrival about academic
integrity policies
3. Educate incoming students about policies and
procedures at orientation and in follow-up
Fraud on Exams and Papers
“Alleged exam cheating leads to fraud charges against 2
students in Waterloo
Two Ontario university students have been charged with
forgery and fraud after a first-year student allegedly paid a
PhD student $900 to write her final math exam.
University of Waterloo officials said a 26-year-old PhD
student at Toronto's York University was contacted by the
first-year student through a website connecting
international students to others who are willing to write
exams for compensation.
The 20-year-old University of Waterloo student allegedly
paid $900 to the York student, and provided a fake student
ID so he could write her exam.” (CBC News, Dec. 18, 2014)
Fraud on Exams and Papers
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