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Examination and Proctoring | 8 Min Read

Web Proctored Exams: All You Want to Know About Online Proctoring

Introduction

Web proctored exams have gained steady ground in the certification industry. More individuals are seeking ways to earn professional certifications with ease. An increasing number of organizations are interested in digital solutions to enhance their candidates’ exam experience, enabling them to take their exams at the time and place of their choosing. An online proctor invigilates candidates, using a webcam and a computer screen.

What is Online Proctoring?

Online proctoring refers to a digital form of assessment, enabling candidates to take exams from any location. The proctored exam software is used during online proctoring to allow students and participants to take exams at a place of their choosing. It must be adequately reliable and cheat-proof.  

Proctoring an online exam is no longer arduous. Monitoring software is employed to monitor the test-takers through audio and video, establishing the exam’s credibility and authenticity. 

What Is a Proctored Exam?

A proctored exam is associated with having an individual (proctor) overseeing an exam and monitoring the students. A proctor significantly impacts an exam’s validity and integrity with airtight invigilation. In case a student violates the code of conduct, a proctor can discontinue the test and report the matter to the institution conducting the assessment.

What is Subsequent Proctoring?

Subsequent proctoring is when images and logs are captured, and a video is recorded while candidates take the test, like a webcam proctored test. A proctor can later assess whether examinees engaged in illicit activities, based on the evidence from the captured images. Such exams can be taken at a time of students’ convenience. They just have to log in and commence the exam without prior scheduling.

Who can use make use of online proctoring?

Online proctoring can be used by: 

  • Universities and Institutes to conduct safe and secure online exams.
  • Educators who need to assess students and their performance via assessment. 
  • The academia who offer certification programs for online courses and need to take exams to ensure only worthy students got the certification. 
  • Organizations and businesses to assess employees remotely. 

How to select an online proctoring tool?

Here’s how you can select an online proctoring tool: 

  • Your choice of proctoring tool provider should depend upon its ability to provide end-to-end online proctoring solutions for conducting online exams seamlessly and affordably, with high exam integrity. 
  • They should be easy to integrate either via a chrome extension or customised codings into any LMS. 
  • They should be able to provide a sophisticated slew of anti-cheating features and proctoring services.
  • Check if they provide an insightful candidate diagnostic report that contains details on how the student/candidate performance. 
  • There should not be any problem with scale or the robustness of the technology.  

What are the different types of online proctoring? 

The different types of online exam proctoring include:

Live Proctoring– A human invigilator supervises the exam remotely via webcam.

Auto Proctoring- AI-based proctoring monitors the candidate’s live webcam feed, auto-flags up to 18 digressions with 95% accuracy.

Recorded Proctoring – There’s no proctor involved in monitoring the entire session in real-time. Instead, the candidates’ audio-visual and screen-sharing feeds are recorded throughout the test and reviewed later at the proctor’s convenience.

Can You Cheat in an Online Proctored Exam?

It is extremely difficult to cheat in an online proctored exam due to the advancements in online proctoring software. 

Can one take the exam on a mobile phone or tablet? 

It is preferred that online proctored exams be taken on desktop computers, laptops, rather than tablets, iPads, or mobile devices.

How Do Proctored Online Exams Work?

This is how proctored online exams work: 

  • Online proctoring enables an assessor to invigilate online proctored online tests from any part of the world. 
  • Various cutting-edge tools in the market, such as Mercer | Mettl’s Online Proctoring tools, have made it feasible for the proctor to carefully observe an online exam in real-time and view its recording at their convenience.

Why Online Proctoring is Important

i) Makes Remotely Provided International Education More Accessible

Many educational institutions have created virtual learning infrastructure to offer e-Learning courses for students globally. However, it’s financially unviable for students to travel long distances to take the certification exams. Online proctoring eliminates that necessity as students can take their exams without traveling, regardless of their location.

ii) Allows Time-related Flexibility

A flexible schedule allows students and teachers to exercise more control over their working environment and schedule - the advent of online proctoring has allowed for scheduling and taking the exams at a mutually convenient time. Online proctoring lends unparalleled ease to the candidates, allowing them to take the exams at a time of their convenience.

iii) Favors All Students Irrespective of Their Location

You can give your exam to students located elsewhere, irrespective of your physical location, which is especially beneficial for international students, though it is equally applicable for local students. It works well if you are studying part-time or working. You will not be required to always be on the school campus.

iv) Works for All Kinds of Exams

Online proctors can supervise all types of exams, and online proctoring works for you - whether multiple-choice questions, essays or aptitude tests. It can offer assistance in any exam in a digital format. A video proctoring system can be used in live proctoring to ascertain a student’s handwritten notes.

Online proctoring is revolutionizing the education system. It has drastically reduced the number of hours spent in the classrooms and has made exams a more engaging and enjoyable experience. 

You may also want to read about Secure Exam Browser: Securing Online Exams with Navigation Control.

Frequently Asked Questions About Web Proctored Exams

How Much Does Online Proctoring Cost?

Online proctoring service providers tailor their offerings based on clients’ budgetary allocation. Proctoring services are readily accessible and affordable for all high and low-stakes exams. However, customer satisfaction always takes precedence. Therefore, the best practice is to opt for a free trial of the product to determine its effectiveness and usability.

Can You Take an Online Proctored Exam at Home?

Online proctored exams enable participants to conveniently take assessments at their homes while being remotely invigilated by offsite proctors. Candidates can communicate with the proctors in real-time.

How to take a proctored exam at home?

There are four simple requirements for taking proctored exams at home:

  • A compatible device (Desktop, Laptop)
  • Uninterrupted connectivity (of at least 512kbps)
  • Functional input devices – webcam and a microphone
  • Latest compatible browsers

Can Online Tests Detect Cheating?

Yes, online tests can detect cheating. Online assessments have always been a more convenient choice for the examiner and the examinee alike. But cheating and content fraud have been a perennial concern for administrators as it jeopardizes the assessments’ integrity. Mercer | Mettl’s proctoring services enable clients to safely, securely and efficiently deliver proctored assessments to participants. Advanced proctoring solutions eliminate the logistical hassles of dealing with test centers. Some intriguing features ensuring the authenticity and reliability of exams are 3-point candidate authentication, Safe Exam Browser and AI and human-based proctoring. Maintaining the sanctity of exams is integral to the success of the assessment process, be it for high or low-stakes testing.

Can A Proctor See Your Screen?

With the candidates’ permission, proctors can view their screens and utilize the keyboard and mouse as if they were sitting beside them. Proctors monitor everything on the screen after the test commences. A chat box is visible on the candidates’ computer screen during the test, and they can, at any time, view the permissions accorded to a proctor. The entire session log is saved, along with a complete record of the proctor’s actions during the exam. 

However, proctors do not access the candidates’ computer files without their knowledge. Every action they take shows up on the screen and eliminates the possibility of performing any covert activity. Proctors can access only when they are granted access with explicit permission by the candidates.

How Are Proctored Exams Monitored?

A proctored exam is invigilated by an approved, unbiased person ( a proctor) who maintains the integrity of the online examination process. A proctor is solely responsible for administering the entire process, from ascertaining the candidates’ authenticity to overseeing every step of the exam. Digital technology is reducing examiners’ burden by providing end-to-end proctoring solutions, with the advent of online proctoring services. 

Modern-day proctoring solutions are automated and flag suspicious activities using advanced audio-video analytics. Proctored exams are either monitored through live online, recorded or advanced automated proctoring. Online proctoring software uses an online video system and ensures the candidates do not divert from the test screen by continually tracking the test environment and checking for suspicious activities. 

Can the Proctor See My Hands?

During a proctored exam online, the proctor can not only view your hands or wrists, hiding chits, but an online proctor (a human invigilator) can gauge your intentions. Everything occurring in the student’s room is under the proctor’s supervision. Before beginning the proctored exam online, students must perform a 360-degree webcam tour of the area to ensure compliance with exam policies and regulations. This activity also helps proctors ensure there is no unfair play to gain an undue advantage during the exam. The ongoing online surveillance prevents unauthorized persons from entering the student’s room and keeps the respondent from using unfair means to beat the system. That’s where webcam monitoring or a webcam proctored test is beneficial and eliminates any scope for cheating.

What is a Web Proctored Exam?

Web proctored exam is the same as an online proctored exam, meaning it enables test-taking and test-hosting from any part of the world. A web proctored exam negates instances of unwarranted activities by employing advanced anti-cheating technology. One can easily take a web proctored exam or an online proctored exam at home. 

What is a Proctored Assessment? 

Proctored assessment is another name for proctored exams/tests. Invigilators monitor students/candidates during the test-taking process to ensure only the right person is selected for the admission or the job application.  

What is Online Video Proctoring? How Does Online Video Proctoring Work?

Online video proctoring is enabled to ensure the test-taker’s authenticity and eliminate suspicious behavior during the exam. A prerequisite for the exam involves accepting screen sharing, video and audio for the intelligent algorithm to flag various doubtful cases, such as the non-visibility of face/ presence, the detection of a mobile phone, and an additional person, a distracted eye movement, etc.

You might be wondering if candidates could search the answers on the web, using Wikipedia or social-networking sites to bypass the invigilation. Disabling the web search function during the assessment ensures complete clampdown on such possibilities – moreover, screen sharing technology in real-time aids a proctor in closely observing the student’s on-screen behavior. Even impersonation is improbable as the online exam process requires students to present their photo IDs at the beginning of every test. Proctors authenticate their identities, after which the test commences. 

Digital proctoring services have likely rendered cheating impossible for students as they cannot bypass the security framework.

Can You Cheat on a Lockdown Browser?

The lockdown feature enables examiners to list the apps and websites to be blocked. During the web proctored exam, enabling the feature restricts examinees from opening those apps or software. It disables features that benefit those who wish to game the system and use unfair means such as screen sharing, screen recording, etc. Mettl Secure Browser (MSB) is one such feature that works as a separate browser and provides a secure browsing environment for the examiner and the candidate. 

What is a Remote Proctored Exam?

Remote proctored exam means that students can take their exams from any remote location, provided they have a webcam-supported computer and a functional internet connection. The proctored exam software is integrated with anti-cheating measures to eliminate cheating.

How Are Proctored Exams Different from Unproctored Exams?

Graph on why online proctoring is better

Even though unproctored testing for employers is a more cost-effective and flexible option than proctored testing, it raises concern about credibility, most crucially cheating. 

Recent research suggests that candidates perform significantly better in a web proctored exam setting. The study was intended to assess how candidates fared in an exam in a proctored vs. unproctored environment. Respondents solved questions from an online assessment battery, based on which predicting job performance was reasonably easy. It was found that the average marks scored by the participants in a proctored environment were slightly higher than in an unproctored environment. However, this contradicts the popular notion that individuals taking exams in an unproctored setting or a self-proctored exam have the edge in using unfair means. Some assume that test-takers in a proctored setting take their assessments more seriously, with fewer distractions and perform much better than an unproctored environment.

How Mercer | Mettl Can Help

Universities, colleges and educational institutes are increasingly shifting their examination to the online mode, be it semester exams, entrance exams or course certifications. Undeniably, switching to online exams offers significant advantages, such as no requirement of physical centers, easy scheduling, enhanced scalability, and can be attempted from anywhere. However, the most significant challenge is to maintain the online exams’ integrity.

Mercer | Mettl has acquired a pole-position in the assessment ecosystem, enabling numerous clients across industries and verticals to conduct their examinations and assessments with the highest industry standards.

Its suite of advanced proctoring technologies, research-backed assessments, efficient cloud platform, customized assessment creation and in-depth analytics help deliver transformative results for its clients. Here’s how:

a) 3-Point Candidate Authentication:

There are a growing number of cases of impersonation by students globally. It raises valid concerns among examiners about the real identity of the exam-taker. MPaas 3-point candidate authentication ensures the candidates’ utmost reliability and authenticity. Live authentication begins after the candidate clicks on the exam link. The webcam will first ask the student to click their photo, show their ID proof and validate themselves via an OTP. They are also needed to send across customizable registration details. Our proctors are available round the clock to verify the photo ID against the registration details and attest to the candidate’s legitimacy.

b) MSB:

Mettl Secure Browser (MSB) is a secure browsing feature that allows academicians to host the online entrance exam from their homes, without worrying about on-screen cheating. MSB restricts access to all possible unauthorized resources, from enabling browser lockdown functions, allowing minimum navigation control, to blocking all external ports. This feature ensures preventing the candidate from surfing the web for answers by using the internet.

c) A Robust, User-Friendly Online Platform:

With Mercer | Mettl’s- Examine, the Online Examination Software System, universities can securely conduct high-stakes exams in a cost-effective, scalable and credible manner. 

  • This end-to-end exam management platform encompasses test creation to real-time reporting, complete with a dedicated admin dashboard for detailed analytics and log and video recording. 
  • The platform offers a rich repository of 26 different formats for exam papers, considering distinct exam patterns and the academia’s user requirements. (It includes knowledge-based and application-based questions and even complex formula writing.) 
  • It is robust enough to support multiple exam-takers at various locations globally, using bandwidth as low as 512kbps. 
  • A User-friendly, easy-to-navigate interface ensures hands-on expertise, even for the senior-most faculty with no prior technical knowledge. 
  • Mercer | Mettl’s examination platform also enables you to create credible certifications.

d) AI Proctoring:

Mercer | Mettl’s futuristic AI algorithm is trained with more than 2.8 million proctored assessments. It can detect up to 18 dynamic digressions with over 95% accuracy. The intelligent algorithm is configured to flag various suspicious cases, such as the non-visibility of face/ presence, detection of a mobile phone, an additional person, a distracted eye movement, etc. AI proctoring eliminates the most glaring vulnerabilities with a dynamic set of anti-cheating features.

e) Manual+Live invigilation:

Sharing the screen, and video and audio is a prerequisite for taking the exams. With one-to-one and one-to-many proctoring features, live proctoring provides a classroom view to the human invigilator monitoring remotely, from start to finish. An added feature of pausing/stopping /resuming the test in real-time with a live chat option enables the invigilator to interact with students to allay suspicions or queries. This entire recorded session can be viewed later by using the proctoring software.

Online examinations must be highly secure and credible, and that’s where Mercer | Mettl solutions are useful.

What is the future of online proctoring?

Online assessments have always been a more convenient choice for the examiner and the examinee alike. But cheating and content fraud have been a perennial concern for administrators as it jeopardizes the assessments’ integrity. But with the emergence of AI and its hard core use in Mercer | Mettl’s proctoring services, the potential to enable clients safely, securely and efficiently ensure proctored assessments is going to be unprecedented.

Originally published March 27 2018, Updated October 15 2020

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