The danger of passwords and PINs in online education

Third-party testing, in fact, has shown the technology to be 99.8 percent effective — much higher than more traditional anti-cheating technologies found on U.S. campuses.

That effectiveness rate is more than triple the rate required by the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST), which has pushed for tougher policies around online course plagiarism.

“That gave us considerable bragging rights,” said Jeff Maynard, president and CEO of Bio Signature ID. “And it’s a point of pride for us. … People need to know which technologies are really secure and which ones aren’t. [Colleges] should understand how effective this can be.”

Biometrics, for example, would require a college student to write a series of letters and numbers in a designated box, using a cursor. If the online writing doesn’t match previously entered gestures and handwriting habits, the student won’t be permitted to enter the online quiz or test.

A consortium of Kansas community colleges called eduKan recently published the results of a study that looked into how effective Biometrics Signature ID’s technology could be.

The group of community colleges saw an 80 percent reduction in test proctoring costs. Colleges, on average, saw a budget gain of $121,600. Using the biometrics technology saved the schools money on proctoring exams too, as the cost of proctoring an exam in a class of 4,000 students is $152,000.

“It’s a real budgetary issue for colleges,” Maynard said. “So it’s not just a more reliable way to protect against [cheating on exams], but it makes perfect financial sense.”