Online proctoring is a method to prevent cheating during online exams. The avenues for cheating are much more when giving an exam online as compared to pen and paper exams. Test takers are constantly coming up with new ways to hoodwink the proctoring software by finding cheating loopholes that the software can’t detect. But the proctoring technology is also advancing to nip any cheating attempt in the bud.
There are many different types of proctoring solutions that can be used to prevent cheating. Choosing the right proctoring solution can be a challenge, as each solution has its own strengths and weakness.
Factors to consider before choosing a proctoring solution:
- Stakes Involved
- Exam location
- Exam type
- Economies of scale
1) Stakes Involved
Proctoring solutions can be used for preventing cheating in all sorts of exams- School and university examinations, employment tests, Certification tests, internal employee tests (as a part of Learning & Development initiatives), Entrance tests, competitive exams etc.
When stakes are very high: Entrance examinations such as SAT, GMAT, GRE etc. are very high-stake exams as they are a gateway to the ivy league institutes. Not even a single instance of cheating is acceptable. Hence these exams require usage of the most sophisticated and foolproof proctoring solutions such as live proctoring along with auto proctoring.
When stakes are moderately high: Internal school or college exams such as pop quizzes etc., where the stakes are not very high, normal proctoring solutions such as Secure Browser or Auto Proctoring Solutions are enough to maintain exam integrity.
2) Exam Location
Online exams can be given either from a designated venue or remotely from anywhere.
Designated exam venue: In case of the exam being conducted at a designated venue, proctoring solutions such as classroom proctoring, or record and review proctoring can be enough to prevent cheating. For example, during CAT, GMAT or GRE exams, the exams and conducted on a designated venue. Test takers are thoroughly checked and their identify authenticated via biometrics and other ID authentication tools. All electronic devices are taken away from them. The PC’s on which they give the tests do not allow them to venture outside the test environment. As a lot of anti-cheating measures are already in place, there is no need to use very advanced proctoring solutions.
Remote exam venue: However, in case the test taker is giving the exam from a remote location such as home etc., more stringent proctoring solutions need to be used, such as Online ID authentication, 360 video and audio capturing, live proctoring and auto proctoring solutions that can record audio and video of test taker, their surrounding and the computer screen to detect presence of any cheating devices such as mics, second screen, mobile or an additional person.
3) Exam Type
Exams can be of different types- open book exams, closed book exams, coding tests etc. In some exams, the test taker is allowed to access certain websites (in case of open book exams) or certain softwares (in case of coding tests) or devices such as calculators. In such cases, the proctoring solution needs to allow the test taker to access and use certain resources while at the same time prevent them from misusing this conditional freedom.
Test takers have been known to make use of calculators with memory storage to store test answers or use auto programming softwares to pass coding tests.
To prevent such incidents of cheating during coding tests or open book tests, secure browsers are a great solution. They allow the test taker to access specific predefined tools and resources. The test taker cannot access any other resources other than these, as they are blocked for access the moment the candidate starts the test.
The budget that an organization or institute is ready to shell out for proctoring solutions is an important factor while choosing the best solution fit as per their requirement.
High integrity, low cost solution: Auto proctoring or review and record proctoring paired with online ID authentication and secure browser services are affordable proctoring solutions that can be used to conduct high integrity exams.
High integrity, high cost solution: Live proctoring along with auto proctoring, online ID authentication and secure browser solutions are more expensive but nevertheless more dependable when it comes to high stake exams where multiple layers of checks need to be present to prevent cheating at all costs.
Depending upon how much time there is between the exam and result declaration, the proctoring solution choice can differ.
Long time interval: exams where the results are declared months after the test, can make use of services such as record and review proctoring- a cheaper version of live proctoring where the candidate’s audio, video record and auto proctoring flags are reviewed by a proctor who determines if the test result should be accepted or rejected basis the review result. If the proctor catches any instance of cheating by any test taker, they can cancel the test result for those test takers. However, this solution is time taking as the proctor has to go through each candidate’s proctoring report after the exam has taken place. Also, in case the number of test takers is very huge, this proctoring solution is not very feasible.
Short time interval: Exams where the result needs to be declared within days of the exam taking place or immediately post exam, solutions such as auto proctoring, secure browser and live proctoring are more feasible as they declare a test valid or invalid basis any cheating attempts, during the duration the exam itself.
6) Economies of Scale
The number of candidates appearing for a test can also help in determining the proctoring solution choice.
Large number of test takers: Its difficult, costly and time taking to live proctor a very large candidate base. Even record and review proctoring is not the way to go in this case as individually reviewing hundreds of thousands of proctoring reports is impractical. Solutions such as auto proctoring work best in these scenarios
Small number of test takers: When the number of test takers is less- live proctoring, record and review proctoring or auto proctoring- any of these proctoring solutions can be used, depending on the stakes at hand, budget, time at hand etc.
As AI driven proctoring solutions advance (with higher usage and hence exposure to more data) to become more sensitive to cheating attempts and start flagging cheating instances that even a live proctor at times overlooks, physical proctoring will become a distant history as it will not be able to match the cost, efficiency and economies of scale that online proctoring services provide.
Topics: Online Remote Proctoring