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Examination and Proctoring | 4 Min Read

6 Factors to Consider Before Choosing the Right Online Proctoring Solution

What Is an Online Proctoring Solution?

Proctoring solutions grant examiners the power to administer online exams to candidates from remote areas (outside the classroom, off-campus, remote locations) in a secure, convenient way. Online proctoring solutions enhance the overall experience of assessment for both instructors and students. These solutions help in ensuring academic integrity and offer various options for far-off learners to take exams, especially if test centers are too far to reach.

What are Proctoring Services?

With the ever-increasing reach and popularity of massive open online courses and other means of remote learning, we’ve come to realize the necessity of proctoring solutions in scaling online education. With the changing times, conventional invigilation processes have been supplanted by modern-day proctoring solutions that cater to the online examination system of remote assessments. Remote proctoring solutions were devised to keep tabs on candidates to ensure that there are no unfair practices during the test.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Proctoring Services

Online proctoring is a method to prevent cheating during online exams. The avenues for cheating are much more when giving a test online as compared to pen and paper exams. Test takers are continually 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 strengths and weaknesses. 

Given below are six essential factors that one should consider before deciding on the best proctoring solution:

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1) Stakes Involved

Proctoring solutions can be used for preventing cheating in all sorts of exams- School and university examinations, employment tests, internal employee tests, entrance tests, certification tests, and competitive exams, etc.

When stakes are very high: Entrance examinations such as GMAT, GRE, SAT, 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 the usage of the most sophisticated and foolproof proctoring solutions such as live proctoring along with auto proctoring.

When stakes are moderately high: Periodical tests or examinations in schools or colleges such as in-class pop quizzes etc. do not come under high-stakes testing. In this case, standard proctoring solutions such as secure browsing or auto proctoring 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 the case of the exam being conducted at a designated place, proctoring solutions such as classroom proctoring, or record and review proctoring can be enough to prevent cheating. For example, during CAT, GMAT, or GRE, the exams are conducted at a designated venue. Examinees are thoroughly checked, and their identity 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 candidate is giving the exam from a remote location such as home, off-campus, etc., more stringent proctoring solutions need to be used, such as Online ID authentication, 360 video and audio capturing, and live proctoring and auto proctoring solutions that can record the audio and video of examinees, their surroundings and the computer screen to detect the presence of any cheating devices such as mics, second screen, mobile or an additional person.

3) Types of Exams

Exams can be of different types- open book exams, closed-book exams, coding tests, etc. In some exams, the student can access certain websites (in case of an open book) or specific software (in case of coding tests) or devices such as calculators. In such cases, the proctoring service should enable the candidate to access and use certain resources while at the same time, prevent him/her from misusing this conditional freedom. Entrants have been known to make use of calculators with memory storage to store test answers or use auto programming software to pass coding tests.

Secure browsers are a great solution to prevent such incidents of cheating during coding tests or open-book tests. Using these browsers, examinees can only access specific predefined tools and resources. Applicants cannot access any other resources other than these, as they are blocked for access the moment the candidate starts the test.

4) Budget

The budget that an organization or institute is ready to shell out for proctoring solutions is an essential 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 options that can be used to conduct high integrity exams.

High integrity, high-cost solution: More expensive solutions would include auto proctoring and live proctoring, online ID authentication, and browser security. These options are costly, but nevertheless more reliable when it comes to conducting high-stakes exams.

5) Time

Depending upon how much time there is between the exam and result declaration, the choice of solution-specific proctoring can differ.

Long time interval: In exams where the results are declared months after the test, services such as record and review proctoring can come in handy. It’s a cheaper version of live proctoring in which 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 based on the review result. If the candidates have been caught in the act of cheating, proctors can cancel the test result for those candidates. 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 examinees is huge, this proctoring solution is not very feasible.

Short time interval: In exams where the result needs to be declared within days of the exam taking place or immediately after the exam, solutions such as auto proctoring, secure browser, and live proctoring are more feasible. Using these solutions, validity or invalidity of a test can be declared based on the students’ attempts to cheat during the duration of the exam itself.

6) Economies of Scale

The number of candidates appearing for a test can also help in determining the right proctoring solution.

A large number of aspirants: It’s difficult, costly, and time taking to live proctor a vast 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

A small number of entrants: 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 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. The reason being that it will not be able to match the cost, efficiency, and economies of scale that online proctoring services provide.

Can Someone Cheat on an Online Proctored Exam?

Cheaters are attempting to beat the system since time immemorial and have also been successful in finding unique ways to cheat on online proctored exams. It’s highly likely that they’ll resort to extreme measures to cheat such as sneaking in their mobile phones, hiding the chits, using gizmos like a smartwatch or Bluetooth earpiece, or impersonating someone, etc. However, the advancement of online proctoring technology has curbed cheating menace considerably.

With the advent of advanced audio proctoring and live proctoring, it has become almost impossible to indulge in such malpractices. Technology has evolved so much that live proctors can quickly identify suspicious behavior or cheating. Mercer | Mettl is one of the leading proctoring solution providers that help conduct virtual exams with the utmost ease. It consists of several intriguing features and is compatible with various LMS software. These features help examinees in taking online exams remotely, and likewise, eases the burden of exam administrators.

How Mercer| Mettl Can Help?

Mercer| Mettl’s end-to-end proctoring solutions make online proctored exams secure and transparent. Our proctoring services ensure the authenticity and accuracy of the test outcome allowing for outright confidence in the candidate assessment process. Mettl guarantees convenient and effective online proctoring solutions to organizations. We offer holistic proctoring solutions with our full range of online proctoring services to suit our client’s budget and organizational needs. This state-of-the-art tool is being used to conduct a variety of assessments from entrance tests to pre-employment and mid-semester exams. Mettl’s AI-powered proctoring platform is known to provide a  95% accuracy rate in thwarting online exam cheating. 

Moreover, Mettl’s ProctorPLUS is an innovative tool that uses artificial intelligence to ensure the credibility and integrity of your assessments in the most convenient way. It comes pre-configured with Mettl’s examination platform and can also be easily integrated into any human resource management system (HRMS). Undoubtedly, ProctoringPLUS is your best bet in terms of both cost and features. It’s high time you adopted this disruptive technology and maintained the integrity of online exams.

COVID Virtual Exams

References:

Originally published February 19 2019, Updated July 9 2020

Romila Kanchan

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