By: Ketan Kapoor, CEO & Co-Founder Mettl
Conducting large-scale, high-stakes examinations and assessments often pose massive logistical hassles for those planning it. Test administrators need to identify physical testing centres, finding test invigilators, and supervising the entire process from the handling of question papers to collecting and evaluating answer sheets. Invigilating multiple test centres, often at the same time, is a huge challenge given the sheer number of people appearing for examinations in universities or for high-stakes tests like CAT, JEE, etc.
An online or computer-based testing infrastructure offers an efficient solution to the various challenges of conducting large-scale tests by turning the entire process into a virtual one through cloud-based solutions. These solutions enable test administrators to simplify the entire task of planning an examination, allowing them to create question papers, register candidates, conduct the test online, and finally evaluate them. But there is also the aspect of invigilating the tests to take care of, which becomes slightly difficult with computer-based tests. During an online examination, a candidate sitting in a remote location with no physical supervision might make any test administrator nervous. ‘Is the right candidate giving the exam?’ ‘Is there any misconduct during the assessment?’ It is inadvertent for test administrators to be filled with such doubts since there are several blind spots that are beyond the invigilators’ scope of vision.
However, there is a technology-driven solution which can further make the process of administering tests easier and much more efficient – remote proctoring. A remote proctoring solution integrated with an online testing solution significantly enhances the efficiency of the latter while giving the test administrators the ability to oversee examinations from any location. Remote proctoring ensures the test is secured through every possible means, thus taking care of concerns regarding cheating, test authorisation, and security of the test content.
How remote proctoring works
Remote proctoring is the technology that drives the efficient and smooth execution of online assessments. It can be best described as the eyes and ears of test invigilators; eyes to see whether the right candidate is appearing for the test or not and ears to identify any disturbance and ensure that the candidate does not move away from the system or ask a friend to come in and help during the exam. The test administrator ensures that the test has not been tampered with in any way by either checking the live audio/video feed during the test or the recordings at any given time after the examination. To elaborate on the underlying technology, remote proctoring offers three levels of functionalities, which encompasses all the processes involved in planning and executing assessments, from one end to the other.
- The first level is during the beginning of the test, where the candidate undergoes the process of verification through two methods – biometric verification and facial recognition.
- The second level is during the test, where a proctor sitting at a remote location can observe a large number of candidates at the same time. It is quite similar to a person present in an examination hall observing and ensuring that no misconduct takes place; the only difference is that all this happens on a virtual platform. In addition, with real-time updates delivered to the central invigilating system, test administrators also know each time a candidate moves away from the test window, with the proctoring system send out an automated warning during each instance.
- The third level is after the exam has been conducted, wherein a recording will be stored in an online/cloud archive where the test administrator or faculty can access all the details like what, when, where, and how the test was conducted. It remains an official record and is stored in a time capsule which can be referred to and observed at any time after the assessment has been conducted.
The biggest benefit of online assessment and remote proctoring solutions is their ability to accommodate a large number of people, irrespective of time and geography, as well as the ease with which they can be deployed to scale. A good, robust online remote proctoring solution, therefore, is characterised by a scalable and customisable infrastructure that can be modified as and when necessary. But more importantly, a good remote proctoring solution is one that’s easy to use for both test administrators as well as candidates.
With the use of state-of-the-art online assessment tools by online learning platforms and educational institutions rising steadily, remote proctoring can substantially enhance the credibility and integrity of high-stakes tests, helping prevent practices such as cheating and ensuring that every aspirant has a fair chance to succeed. Educational institutions, examination bodies, and even companies, then, must take the first step towards the transformation of testing methods by acquiring the latest technology and building an infrastructure to support online examinations. Doing so can offer massive benefits in terms of cost savings and efficiency in the long run.