Using Challenge Questions for Student Authentication in Online Examination

Abrar Ullah, Hannan Xiao, Mariana Lilley, Trevor Barker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With the growth of Internet and technology in the past decade, online learning has become increasingly popular and evolved. Online examination is an integral and vital component of online learning. Student assessment in online learning is largely submitted remotely without any face-to-face interaction and therefore, student authentication is widely seen as one of the major challenges. This study aims to investigate potential threats to student authentication in the online examinations and analyzing the benefits and limitations of the existing authentication approaches. We propose the use of challenge questions for student authentication in the online examinations. For this purpose, we designed a profile based authentication framework (PBAF) together with a user-id and password for the authentication of students during online examinations, utilizing a cohort of personal and academic questions as challenge questions. We conducted an empirical study on a group of online students from local and overseas Universities. The result shows the impact of questions type on the usability, in particular the amount of time taken by the introduction of the proposed approach. We also conducted a post experiment survey to collect student feedback on the proposed technique.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)631-639
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal for Infonomics
Issue number3/4
Early online date1 Dec 2012
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2012


  • challenge questions
  • authentication
  • security
  • e-assessment


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