Ice Makers, Bullfinches, and Oreos – Why You Should Use Caveon Data Forensics

Written by: Jennifer Miller, Data Forensics Coordinator

July 12, 2017

The other day my refrigerator ice maker bin self-destructed, exploding into pieces all over the counter.

All of the individual pieces were present and intact, as far as I knew, but how they went together was a great mystery.  There were a couple of plastic gaskets, both with their own unique shape, and a couple of other gaskets, which appeared to be related to each other, but not to the previous two gaskets.  There were several metal blades with teeth, each of which was almost imperceptibly different from the other, and there were some springs, an odd number of screws (always a red flag), some sort of axle-type thingy, a clowder of cats, a bellowing of bullfinches, and a piece of an Oreo cookie.

Being constitutionally averse to accepting help from anyone, ever, naturally I abandoned everything and immediately commenced to figuring out how to put it back together by myself, using my strong will and above average, shrewd deduction skills.  My efforts lasted only a few minutes before I was forced to give up, completely demoralized.  After a few phone calls, it became apparent that I was going to have to call a repair technician to come to my house and fix it, which would cost somewhere between a hundred and a hundred and fifty dollars!  There was but one remaining glimmer of hope:  YouTube.  And much to my surprise, an ice bin angel had indeed posted a video explaining how to fix my ice bin!  Problem solved!

I have nothing against refrigerator repair technicians (there are plenty of parts to my refrigerator that I could not possibly fix myself), but when it comes to my ice bin, I don’t think I need to hire an expert, and I’d rather not pay for things that I can do myself.

Clients and potential clients often ask us, “Why should we use Caveon Data Forensics? What does Caveon have that we don’t?”  Many programs employ capable in-house psychometricians who can potentially do the work themselves, along with their other duties.  Moreover, there is commercial software available for data forensics analysis.  This is a classic build-buy question.  Why buy when you can build?  Why pay others to do what you can do yourself?  A program manager can easily find people who can perform complicated statistical analysis, and they even are capable of designing complex systems and coding software to carry out the computations.  What does Caveon have that others don’t?

First, Caveon has experience.  Over the past fourteen years, Caveon’s security professionals have been working to prevent, detect, and respond to the security concerns of many clients in various areas, including K-12 school assessments, medical board certifications, IT certifications, and even personality testing. The data forensics team has analyzed millions of test instances during that time.  We understand the nuances of different testing programs and industries.  We know what test fraud looks like in data.  We know when our clients should be concerned and when they can feel safe.  Similar to going to the hospital for a CT scan, our clients can be assured that not only do we have the equipment to perform the needed tests, more importantly, we have the experience to effectively interpret the outputs.

Caveon also understands test security threats.  Understanding threats is our core business.  Caveon has multiple service groups, each of which endeavors to stay apprised of not only the threats that our clients continually face, but also emerging threats that could impact our clients in the near future.  Caveon Data Forensics is supported by a flexible system which can be adapted and configured to each client’s needs.  With every analysis and every client, we revise and modify the statistics to fit client needs and to respond to specific threats that have been identified.  Caveon spends time getting to know threats and preparing to detect them so that our clients can spend their valuable time on their core business.

Finally, Caveon Data Forensics has depth and breadth.  Caveon Data Forensics uses over twenty statistics designed and tuned to detect evidence of specific test fraud behaviors among groups as well as individual examinees.  The statistics are sensitive and provide clients with a high-resolution image of the threats and weaknesses that their testing program experiences.  For example, Caveon uses similarity statistics to discern between panic cheating where one student copies answers from another while taking a K-12 assessment versus manipulation of the assessment by educators through coaching live exam content, tampering with answer sheets, or redirecting students to fix wrong answers.  These are two completely different scenarios: one involves isolated instances of invalid test scores, while the other threatens the very foundation of educational integrity.  Armed with this detailed information, clients act with surgical precision, taking only the action necessary to eliminate the source of the threat.  This results in substantial cost and time savings for testing programs.

What sets Caveon Data Forensics apart is not that Caveon is the sole owner of a magic tool that can be used to fix the problem; we are not the repair technician who is the only person who knows how to put a refrigerator ice bin back together.  We know there are many smart people who are capable of developing their own tools to do data forensics analysis.  Instead, Caveon has the wisdom accumulated through years of experience, a focus on test security, and a broad and in-depth view of the landscape of security that empowers clients to make informed decisions and take effective action to improve the security of their exams.  In the end, we save our clients’ money.  And in my opinion, that’s worth paying for.

 

Jennifer Miller

Data Forensics Coordinator, Caveon Test Security