The Effects of Exam Setting on Students’ Test-Taking Behaviors and Performances: Proctored Versus Unproctored




test-taking behaviors, proctored exam, unproctored exam, formative assessment


One of the biggest challenges for online learning is upholding academic integrity in online assessments. In particular, institutions and faculties attach importance to exam security and academic dishonesty in the online learning process. The aim of this study was to compare the test-taking behaviors and academic achievements of students in proctored and unproctored online exam environments. The log records of students in proctored and unproctored online exam environments were compared using visualization and log analysis methods. The results showed that while a significant difference was found between time spent on the first question on the exam, total time spent on the exam, and the mean and median times spent on each question, there was no significant difference between the exam scores of students in proctored and unproctored groups. In other words, it has been observed that reliable exams can be conducted without the need for proctoring through an appropriate assessment design (e.g., using multiple low-stake formative exams instead of a single high-stake summative exam). The results will guide instructors in designing assessments for their online courses. It is also expected to help researchers in how exam logs can be analyzed and in extracting insights regarding students' exam-taking behaviors from the logs.

Author Biographies

Denizer Yıldırım, Faculty of Open and Distance Education, Ankara University

Denizer Yıldırım is an instructor at the Faculty of Open and Distance Education, Ankara University, Turkey. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Education and Instructional Technology at Hacettepe University in December 2018. His research interests include educational data mining, learning analytics, learning design, e-assessment, AI-based learning management systems, and robotics integration in education.

Hale Ilgaz, Faculty of Open and Distance Education, Ankara University

Hale Ilgaz is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Open and Distance Education, Ankara University. She received her Ph.D. in Computer Education and Instructional Technology from Hacettepe University. Her research interests include distance education, e-learning, instructional design, cognitive processes in e-learning environments, and human-computer interaction. She is designing and coordinating the online diploma and certificate programs at the university.

Alper Bayazıt, Department of Medical Education and Informatics, Ankara University

Alper Bayazıt is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Medical Education and Informatics, Ankara University, Faculty of Medicine, Turkey. He received a Ph.D. degree in Computer Education and Instructional Technology and M.Sc. degree in Medical Education. His academic interest areas are learning analytics, educational data mining, clinical decision-making and simulations.

Gökhan Akçapınar, Department of Computer Education and Instructional Technology, Hacettepe University

Gökhan Akçapınar is an Associate Professor at the Department of Computer Education and Instructional Technology, Hacettepe University, Turkey. His research interests are in the areas of Educational Data Mining (EDM) and Learning Analytics (LA). He has been conducting research on developing educational early-warning systems for at-risk students, modeling students' learning behaviors, designing data-driven interventions, and developing learning analytics dashboards.


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How to Cite

Yıldırım, D., Ilgaz, H., Bayazıt, A., & Akçapınar, G. (2023). The Effects of Exam Setting on Students’ Test-Taking Behaviors and Performances: Proctored Versus Unproctored. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 24(4), 174–193.



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