Getting to Grips with Exam Fraud: A Qualitative Study Towards Developing an Evidence Based Educational Data Forensics Protocol

  • Christiaan J. van OmmeringEmail author
  • Sebastiaan de KlerkEmail author
  • Bernard P. VeldkampEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 1014)


This design research was focused on developing standards covering the entire process of examination to limit the chances of security risks (e.g., the prevention of exam fraud as much as possible, and detection by means of data forensics), together these standards form the Educational Data Forensics Protocol. Two research questions guided this study. The first question was, which standards regarding preventing and detecting fraud in the process of examination need to be included into the EDF protocol? In addition, practitioners must be able to act on indications of exam fraud based on these standards. Therefore, a second research question was formulated, namely which conditions must be considered during development of the EDF protocol to support practitioners in detecting possible gaps in the security of their examination process?

The EDF protocol was developed and validated in five consecutive steps. This study analyses on the theoretical base of developing the EDF protocol (Step 1) and the considerations for developing a prototype (Step 2). The prototype was being validated (e.g., establishing correctness of the content) through seven semi-structured interviews with content experts in the field of either test security or data forensics (Step 3). Statements from these interviews were used to adjust the prototype into a final version of the EDF protocol (Step 4). Finally, to determine the practical value, the final version of the EDF protocol was used to flag gaps in the security of the exam process and determine possible security risks for one of eX:plain’ s exam programs (Step 5).


Data forensics Academic integrity Test security Exam fraud 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Xquiry (eX:plain)AmersfoortThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Research Methodology, Measurement and Data Analysis, Faculty of Behavioral SciencesUniversity of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands

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