Some business school entrance exams have made it permanent since 2020 to take written tests online. If the systems include remote monitoring, the SESAME and ACCES post-baccalaureate exams have faced cases of fraud.
From 11,660 candidates, 40 exclusions: this is the result of the remote writing session April 13 of the SESAME post-baccalaureate competition bringing together 14 business schools. Compared to the number of candidates, this may seem small. But questions arise about taking distance testsadopted by higher education institutions since the 2020 health crisis.
Last year, the SESAME contest already had a problem: disruptions prevented making appointments for the oral hearing and the business schools eventually replaced them with a revision of the Parcoursup file.
Post baccalaureate competitions in business schools equipped with security equipment
This year it is the fraud cases that draw attention, after the revelations of Challenge magazine on April 20. Thomas Lagathu, director of the SESAME competition, assures us that the TestWe tool “highly effective fraud detection tools”† At the start of the tests, each candidate takes a photo with his identity card. He must film your work environment (office and entire room) and his ears to show the absence of headphones.
During the test, the candidate is photographed every five seconds and the sound is recorded continuously. At the end of the match, this one 60,000 videos, 3,000 days of sound and 52 million photos are checked for 10 days, before the announcement of the results, on April 26.
An initial team of 200 people, assisted by a fraud detection tool, conducts an audit. †Everything is viewed by a human“, the race director assures. The problematic data is then processed by TestWe, which after analysis forwards 1,000 cases to a close-knit team at SESAME, who go through the data with a fine-toothed comb. “You have to listen carefully, because many candidates talk to themselves during the tests”, notes Thomas Lagathu.
Out of 73 problematic cases, 40 candidates were excluded from SESAME
At the end of this sieve, “73 problematic cases went to the Disciplinary Board and 40 were excluded from the competition, for this session“, or 0.34% of those enrolled. Mostly, these were candidates who had used their phones.
Sanctions could have gone further : exclusion for five years from the competition, or even a five-year ban on taking a state exam, which means that obtaining a baccalaureate or driver’s license is not possible.
“Some have practiced and cheated to earn a few points. Maybe the distancial gives the impression to some that they will not be caught† But it’s a very bad calculation,” warns Thomas Lagathu.
The ACCES contest also involved
Another remote writing competition for business schools, ACCES brought together 7,000 applicants on April 7. Result: 27 candidates excluded from the competition for fraud, or 0.4%. The organizers note that “80% of them had insufficient results to access the orals.
On the ACCESS side, remote monitoring is done in real time by 400 people† The platform is secured and a facial recognition system ensures correspondence with the candidate. Once entered the exam room, the candidate’s computer will be locked, preventing any connection to external sites. As for SESAME, the written tests are randomly presented MCQs.
Face-to-face fairer than distance matches?
Thomas Lagathu does not rule out that fraud cases have not been noticed, but he remembers that the problem is also personal† “We sometimes found dictionaries in the toilets without knowing who had used them.” Fatalistically, he launches: “it is difficult to quantify the evolution of fraud. Cheaters exist and always will”.
Discussions are underway to strengthen security† Without ruling out a return to face-to-face, he explains that arbitration is not financial because the remote organization does not represent significant cost savings.
In addition, distance has the advantage: reduce the percentage of candidates who do not present themselves for written examinations to 0.5%, because of barriers, at 5 to 6%, face-to-face. In addition, this prevents candidates from incurring costs.
Decisions will be made early in the summer. On the ACCES side, the full report of the 2022 edition will be prepared in the summer.