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Cheating prevention and detection

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Screen takes cheating seriously, which is why we offer several ways to prevent cheating on your tests. Below you’ll see them broken into two sections — Prevention measures and Detection measures:

✅ You can enable and disable cheating prevention and detection measures during the test creation process.

Prevention measures

Random blocks

Random blocks automatically generates randomized groups of questions based on your test settings (role, domain, difficulty, etc.). This means that no two tests are the same, and makes it much harder for candidates to look for and/or leak solutions online.

Customize test page with an arrow pointed towards the "Add a random block" button in the "Your test" modal.

Cheat warnings

All candidates starting a test are presented with a welcome screen with a basic anti-cheating warning. You can customize the wording of the welcome screen to make this message more prominent if needed — instructions for editing that message can be found here.

The image displays an invitation to take a test on the CoderPad platform. It has three main sections:

1. **Welcome Section**:
   - **Text**: "Welcome. You've been invited to take a test. You can take our tutorial first so you feel comfortable and perform your best. You must complete this test on your own."

2. **Tutorial Section** (on the right side):
   - **Title**: "Tutorial"
   - **Description**: "Use this tutorial to get comfortable with the assessment environment. You can take it as many times as you want. It only takes a few minutes. This tutorial is not part of your assessment and won’t affect your results."
   - **Button**: "Start tutorial" (with a right arrow icon)

3. **Test Section** (below the tutorial):
   - **Title**: "Test"
   - **Description**: "There are 30 questions in this test. The time limit varies per question. The test usually takes between 15 and 30 minutes. Please reserve 30 minutes to take this test."
   - **Button**: "Start test" (yellow with a right arrow icon)

The CoderPad logo is at the top left corner of the image.

Once the candidate starts the test, they’ll also receive a confirmation pop-up mentioning our cheat detection mechanisms and clarifying expectations.

The image displays a prompt informing the user that they are about to start a test. It emphasizes that once the "Start" button is clicked, the flow of questions cannot be stopped and answers cannot be changed. It warns against cheating, stating that the software detects cheating attempts and reports them to the recruiter. Additionally, it mentions that recording or disclosing the questions is strictly forbidden, and that the privacy policy of the inviting company applies. To proceed, the user must agree to the terms and conditions by checking a box and clicking the "Start" button. There are two buttons at the bottom: "Cancel" (gray) and "Start" (yellow).
Confirmation pop-up

Additionally, in the tutorial that candidates follow, they can see what the detailed report will look like (with code playback), which reinforces transparency about expectations.

Time limits

We allow you to set time limits for multiple choice questions so that candidates don’t have time to look up the questions on the internet.

This setting is enabled by default; you can find out more about editing the settings here.

Copy/pasting prevention

We automatically block copy/paste of the question statement both to prevent leaks and to make it harder to find the solution online.

Another feature we offer is to deactivate pasting text that was obtained outside the IDE.

⚠️ Before activating this paste-blocking feature, keep in mind that there are a lot of legitimate use cases for copy/pasting — like utilizing a more familiar IDE on their desktop, or working out the problem in a text editor like Notepad ++.

Detection measures

⚠️Suspicious behavior does not always indicate cheating behavior. We flag these behaviors so that you can investigate further to make an actual determination of cheating.

In other words, while you may receive notifications about problem behaviors encountered during a test, there are often legitimate reasons for candidates engaging in things like copy/pasting or taking an extra long time to answer a question.

Automatic detection

Screen is currently set up to detect the following potential cheating patterns:

  • Plagiarism: Screen will recognize if a candidate submits the exact code previously submitted by another candidate and trigger a notification.
  •  Abnormal candidate performance: e.g., identifying difficult questions completed in a fraction of the usual time.
  •  Leaving the IDE: We can tell if candidates have left the test environment.
  •  Copy/pasting: and if they have copied & pasted code into the Screen IDE.
  • Geolocation changes: We track candidates’ approximate geolocation to spot any unusual behavior, like logins from different locations or devices during the test, to help you determine if another person is taking the test for the candidate.

⚠️ There may be non-cheating related reasons why a candidate has different locations listed in their timeline, including using a VPN and temporarily being out of the country. Like the other warnings, you should investigate further before rejecting the candidate.

Additionally, we take the following actions to reduce the risks and impact of leaked questions and answers:

  • We continually monitor the internet (Reddit, StackOverflow, Git, etc.) for leaked questions and take any necessary action to remove the leaked content as needed.
  • Not only will we refresh any leaked or compromised questions, but we regularly update and refresh ALL our questions.

Cheating notifications

There are four places you’ll be able to review potential candidate cheating.

The first is the Code playback feature, which is a recording of the candidate’s screen as they work the programming questions. You can not only watch them build their answer, but you’ll be able to see when they left the coding environment and when they copy and pasted code:

Playback screen with a "Code was paseted from an external source" notification highlighted in the playback bar.

The second is in the candidate list, where you’ll see a red exclamation point inside a red circle if Screen has detected potential cheating.

A candidate row shown from the candidate list with an arrow pointing to an exclamation point inside a circle ( the symbol for possible cheating).

The third is in your simplified candidate report. This is where you’ll receive plagiarism alerts, notifications of candidates leaving their IDEs, and any geolocation issues:

The summarized candidate report with a notice that the candidate went out of the IDE.

Lastly, if you click on the View detailed report button on the summarized report, you can see detected issues for individual questions:

An individual question that is marked wrong. Below the question is a warning exclamation point that says "The candidate considerably exceeded the time limit for this question. this could be down to tampering with the timer (attempted cheating) or, more likely, to a problem with the network connection. Just in case, we haven't awarded any points for this question."

✅ You can manually override the automatic scoring if you feel it is necessary.

AI follow-up question

Another cheating prevention measure you can enable is an AI-generated and validated follow-up question. Our ChatGPT integration will generate a follow-up question asking a candidate to explain a piece of their code and then validate the answer.

A test report is shown. In the "follow up on question" section it says "in your implementation of "findfilledcellscount", you created a "cell" class with properties for "id", "line", and "region". Can you explain why you chose to create this class and how it is used in your code?". Below that it says "chatgpt automatic validation" and has the question marked as incorrect. To the right is the candidate's answer.

✅ You can also enable this feature in the Test settings.

Cheat reporting

If you’ve made the determination that a candidate has cheated on a particular question, you can mark that by selecting the Candidate cheated on this exercise checkbox on the offending question.

A question review page is shown for a candidate with the option to select "Candidate cheated on this exercise" checkbox.

Checking this box will remove points for the exercise and add a filter to the candidate. Additionally, in the Candidates screen of the test, you’ll see a Cheated notification next to the candidate’s name.

ℹ️ For more information on our anti-cheat feature — including a few frequently asked questions — checkout our Anti-cheat product page.

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