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Exam proctoring is akin to an actual classroom setting, monitored by proctors from a place of their choosing. Exam proctoring is undertaken in real-time, using technology such as AI supplemented by human proctors who intervene upon observing any suspicious activity. An exam proctoring system simplifies the entire examination process for educators and students using technology, offering convenience and lending fairness and ease to the invigilation process.
Exam proctoring enables test-taking and test-hosting from any part of the world, meaning one can easily take a web proctored exam or an online proctored exam at home, at a library, at an exam center or any other safe environment of choosing.
However, one of the most significant challenges in adopting online exam proctoring is that the traditional system of center-based exams has worked well. But with ‘return to business as usual’ still doubtful, can one afford to wait and watch? We don’t think so. The future is dynamic, and there is an urgent need to evolve. The time to embrace change is now.
Hence, we bring to you a handbook, which is an excellent source of information about administering web proctored exams for all stakeholders, such as administrators and students.
In this handbook, we’ll cover:
Chapter 1 – Things to expect from a web proctored exam
Chapter 2 – How to prevent cheating using test proctoring software
Chapter 3 – What is the process of a web proctored exam, and how are they set up?
Chapter 4 – What are the tips to conducting a successful web proctored exam?
Chapter 5 – Conclusion
Chapter 6 – Frequently asked questions
Burst the greasy bubble and rewire some traditional habits. Let this handbook address your apprehensions concerning the ubiquitous phenomenon of online exam proctoring.
Together, let us go beyond our self-invented limits and plan for a more tech-enabled and forward-looking academic year.
A sizable number of examiners leverage online exams proctoring using the web, mobile devices and other knowhow. Consequently, numerous digital platforms and technologies have emerged to accelerate the push toward digitization. Concepts such as exam proctoring, AI-driven monitoring and LMS innovations, etc., have made an explosive entry, dynamically shifting the focus toward web proctored exams. Most varsities the world over either seem to be talking about it or embracing it. However, a few are still trying to keep pace by pondering on means to unlock this opportunity. They are progressive, no doubt, but need concerted handholding to address gaps to help them meet their goals.
Hence, this chapter, ‘Things to expect from a web proctored exam,’ elucidates a comprehensive and carefully thought-out gist of what forms the crux of exam proctoring or web proctored exams for both educationists and students. It provides some background knowledge that’ll help ease the entities into the system and eliminate real or perceived concerns.
A web proctored exam, as we mentioned, means having an individual (proctor) overseeing an exam and monitoring the students online by using a webcam, a microphone-compatible computer and an uninterrupted internet connection. A host of advanced AI-powered anti-cheating technology at the proctor’s disposal predicts and prevents instances of any unwarranted activity during the assessment.
The basic requirements of engaging in exam proctoring involve access to:
Online proctoring can be used by:
A proctored exam is a two-sided affair involving a candidate and a proctor. A remote proctor, on average, invigilates 6 to 32 test-takers simultaneously, with a one-to-many or one-to-one view. The test can commence with all the prerequisites in place. Here is a quick summary of how a web proctored exam commences.
Some web proctored exams may also feature proctoring tools, such as a secure exam browser running in the background to limit navigation control – which opens the examination window in a sanitized kiosk mode, which can only be shut once the exam concludes. This arrangement restricts students’ access to other browsers, tabs or files and the use of software and tools, such as screen-sharing, WhatsApp and mirroring, during the exam.
Live proctoring is much like an actual classroom setting. Except, an online proctor invigilates multiple examinees remotely, using a real-time audio and video feed, from start to finish.
It is an advanced form of web proctored test that is AI-enabled, automated and helps conduct online examinations without human intervention.
It is an AI-enabled webcam proctored test, wherein the screen and the audio-video feed of the students are recorded throughout the test without any real-time monitoring.
An un-proctored online exam is the same as taking an offline exam without an invigilator in the room. Imagine taking an exam minus any supervision during the process. Wouldn’t there be a slight temptation to cheat? Not for all. But for some, having no invigilators or supervisors would undoubtedly be an incentive to refer to course material, ask friends and family for help or even browse the internet for suitable answers. And if the exam’s fairness is compromised, the results and the evaluation reports would be inaccurate, wrongly reflecting the students’ actual abilities and institutions’ integrity. Subsequently, it would also hamper the morale and efficiency with which some righteous students prefer taking their exams. Hence, administering un-proctored exams can potentially hurt an institute’s credibility.
In a web proctored exam, however, test-takers are aware that innovative technologies and vigilant proctors are constantly monitoring and analyzing their behaviors and activities. Hence, they are more mindful of their actions and prefer not to trick the system.
For those wondering what makes a web proctored exam an effective solution to tide over disruptions! Well, it offers unparalleled ease to academia, besides allowing students the flexibility and convenience to take online exam proctoring from anywhere.
But that’s not it. Here are some other advantages that lend more credence to the idea of adopting an online proctored exam.
As we mentioned earlier, there are always a handful of students who resort to cheating while taking an online proctored exam. However, advanced exam proctoring empowers teachers, recruiters and administrators to closely monitor test-takers’ actions and conduct. This filter serves as a significant deterrent when test-takers know that a prolific digital tool would validate their identities and monitor them online, relentlessly, from start to finish.
MOOCs, also known as massive open online courses, are easily accessible eLearning programs. There has been genuine skepticism about enrollments as it is a bit rich to expect students to fly long distances each time to appear for an exam. It is expensive, time-consuming and unsuitable for most, especially amid nebulous aviation rules in the backdrop of COVID-19-induced restrictions. However, online remote proctoring solutions have paved the way for eLearning, which is perceived as the future of learning. Candidates can enroll from anywhere and learn new skills and subjects without having to resort to correspondence education! Students gain access to world-class education and evaluation, benchmarked against the best in the world, with web proctored exams.
The conventional examination method comprises the following steps:
This process stretches for months and is excruciatingly time-consuming. Not to mention the geographical limitations that come into play. But employing smart technology such as an online proctored examination reduces logistics hassles, evaluation issues and scalability problems for many. With the easy and convenient availability of a proctor (manual or AI), test-takers from far-flung areas can also take their exams from their homes with ease. Simultaneously, while deterring cheating, exam proctoring enhances productivity and improves operations by eliminating repetitive and human work. The examiners do not have to spend hours evaluating answer sheets, as the instantaneous result generation feature auto-evaluates reports with granular insights that yield actionable results.
Online proctored exams are revolutionizing the education system, drastically reducing the number of hours spent in the classrooms. These exams have made assessments a highly engaging and enjoyable experience.
You’ll be surprised to know that there is no difference between an online proctored exam and a center-based exam. An online proctored exam replicates the traditional physical invigilation process and enables the right decision-making. Here’s how:
In a center-based exam, a student is allowed to enter the exam hall and take the test only after his/her identity is verified across all checkpoints by the invigilators present at the examination center. The identification process is the same in online exam proctoring. Students can take a web proctored test only after the following criteria are met. Here is a brief lowdown:
Once the test-takers are verified in a center-based exam, they take their designated seats to begin their assessment. The physical invigilators then monitor each student’s behavior closely, from start to finish. Similarly, in online exam proctoring, an online proctor significantly impacts an exam’s validity and integrity with airtight invigilation. He/she also ensures those who register for an online course are the ones who participate and complete it. Online test proctoring also gives invigilators an added advantage of leveraging anti-cheating tools that streamline patrolling and negate academic integrity issues by enhancing the efficiency of the entire exam-taking process.
Does this assuage your concerns about web proctored exams? Aren’t web proctored exams a significant replacement for recreating the same proctoring experience without raising concerns over safety or credibility?
If you need more detailed proof on the safety of web proctored tests and the various cheating prevention mechanism that can be leveraged to thaw even the most creative cheating attempts – the next chapter awaits you.
Test proctoring software is the latest technology employed by administrators to create a secure testing environment to curb instances of academic dishonesty. It analyzes:
Proctors ensure that no student has an unfair advantage with the prowess of an advanced AI mechanism. Hence, test proctoring software has become a critical component to overcoming disruptions or any form of misconduct, ensuring learning and education continuity.
Let’s explore the above-mentioned facets of test proctoring software, that when enabled, ensure a flawless exam administration:
Since the prerequisite for exam proctoring involves accepting screen and video and audio sharing, the online invigilator using AI monitors every action and activity of the test-taker remotely. Conditions such as the applicant’s face not visible or partially visible, the presence of another person in the room, constantly distracted movements, the presence of an unauthorized device, whispering in the room, to name a few, account as suspicious activities and are often flagged off during the exam proctoring process. Proctor has the authority to decide whether to flag the concerned activity as cheating.
Once the candidate’s behavior is under supervision using quality video footage, proctors maintain the online proctored exam’s sanctity by monitoring the candidate’s on-screen activity. Indeed, some ingenious students try to trick the proctors by exploiting navigation privileges or using online resources for cheating on-screen. Proctors can keep themselves a step ahead by employing a remarkable next-generation anti-cheating solution called the Secure Exam Browser. This lockdown browser is a customized browser setting that prevents any form of digital/ on-screen cheating during an online exam. A lockdown browser runs full-screen on the system; hence, the student cannot move out of the window or access any unauthorized application without permission.
If you thought merely monitoring the test-taker’s actions was enough, you may want to consider the helpers who often collaborate with the test-takers. These helpers are stationed away from the student and the webcam, preferably behind the system. But we have an effective way of ensuring safe, secure and fair examinations by scanning and verifying the test-taking environment. Following are some tools to ensure the same:
A 360-degree video capturing webcam that a student can attach to his/her computer screen. Or the test-taker has a headgear with a camera attached to capture his/her gaze and observe things that he/she is looking at during online proctored exams. Both these cameras allow the live proctor or the AI-proctoring software to view areas beyond the laptop/webcam coverage feed, providing an extra layer of security during virtual exams.
Audio proctoring software is another innovative feature employed in exam proctoring to help a proctor monitor the background noise. By scanning the test-taker’s physical environment for additional sounds or noises using the microphone, an audio proctoring software ascertains the difference between sounds that can be and must not be present in a testing environment.
We genuinely hope the previous chapters have greatly eased your anxiety about matters concerning exam proctoring. And that you’ve been able to resolve issues hindering your consideration to implement them both as students and educators. Now it’s time we understand the process of a web proctored exam and the technicalities involved in setting it up.
Does the process of setting up online exam proctoring sound complicated to you? It isn’t. Activating test proctoring in any system is as easy as a walk in the park.
Exam proctoring can be initiated in either of the two ways:
Here’s how it functions:
Not every institute has its LMS or platform to conduct the examination. Hence, they require a combination of both platform and proctoring. In such a scenario, academia gets an end-to-end digital examination system that entitles professors to set up exams, schedule exams, manage candidate slotting, conduct exams and deliver results. A dedicated admin dashboard shares detailed analytics and log and video recording of the entire process for anytime review. A complete suite of proctoring technologies is pre-configured in the platform, offering a robust security mechanism.
Institutes that possess their LMS or platform but require only a seamless layer of proctoring technology can get proctoring added as a service. Proctoring as a service is an AI-powered or human layer of remote supervision that can be integrated onto any system, software or platform. This arrangement allows exam administrators and faculty to customize and initiate online proctored exams successfully at any given time with its credible anti-cheating features and insightful analysis.
There are two ways of integrating remote proctoring service onto any LMS or system:
A. By using LTI (Learning Tool Interoperability) extensions. For instance, Mercer| Mettl, a Gartner verified proctoring company, integrates its proctoring services online with over 250 LTI-compliant systems instantaneously. With a single protocol, any platform can have its sophisticated Mettl Proctoring as a Service (MPaaS) software within minutes.
B. The other way is via deep integration. For instance, Mercer | Mettl will expose its REST APIs to integrate with any system and enable test proctoring as a service online. It takes up to a week or more to set it up. Clients who require a custom proctoring workflow or have a Non-LTI LMS or web platform can opt for deep integration. Deep integration allows extensive customization possibilities with all significant LMS, HRMS and other platforms.
Wondering how students initiate web proctored exams?
The students have to download the extension for proctoring and follow the LMS’s usual steps. Just as the candidate clicks on the “Start Exam” button on the LMS, he/she will be shown a pop-up notifying him/her about proctoring. Once verification checks are in order, a pop-up saying “Begin Exam” will be visible, and the student’s exam will commence.
Now that you know what you need to activate exam proctoring, it is time you move on to selecting a vendor that provides such solutions.
But wait. Selecting the right online proctoring technology for monitoring online exams can be challenging. After all, there is no dearth of online solutions available on the market. But it is confusing to comprehend which vendor or which service is best suited for your needs. Don’t worry!; we’ve already done the hard work for you.
From those providing a state-of-the-art online proctoring platform, sophisticated online invigilation service to those offering detailed candidate performance diagnostic reports, here are the industry’s top 7 test proctoring software providers that enable a secure and fair exam proctoring experience.
Top 7 Test Proctoring Software Providers:
The anxiety when doing something new often tends to get the better of us. But as Tom Peters would say: “Unless you walk out into the unknown, the odds of making a profound difference in your life are pretty low.” Therefore, we consulted some exam proctoring experts and accessed their understanding of the best tips and some creative tricks that could help educators and test-takers benefit from taking the exam proctoring route.
So, let’s first dive into what a student should consider before taking a web proctored exam. Apart from resisting indulgence in any form of cheating, here’s how students can ensure a seamless online proctored session.
Placing oneself in a new environment can be overwhelming, but don’t let it stress you. Slight anxiety or nervousness is common, but you can’t let it hamper your performance. Read all the guidelines stated before and during the test to ensure you don’t miss out on anything. When you’re well prepared, be confident and give the exam without overthinking.
The best way to ease yourself into the online examination system is by familiarizing yourself with the environment. This begins by taking a full-length practice test before the actual exam. When you take a mock version, not only do you get acclimated with the online mode of assessment, the virtual environment and the process therein, but you can also better assess your performance. Simultaneously, it helps you acquaint yourself with the exam format and how you’re to answer each type. Many experts suggest taking regular, timed practice tests as they stimulate the actual exam environment, familiarizing test-takers with what to expect and easing anxiety.
Before you start the online proctored exam, ensure the space you choose to take your exam is quiet, safe and well-lit. You should ensure that your surroundings are uncluttered and you are alone in your room. Ideally, inform your family members of your exam schedule to ensure there are no disturbances. AI-powered proctoring tools are highly advanced at picking up even the slightest whisper. You must ensure there is no noise or unwanted device anywhere within your reach that can be flagged as suspicious or create doubts in a proctor’s mind.
One crucial tip before you start your proctored examination is to test your system. Check that your computer meets the system requirements and that the microphone, webcam and the internet are tested to avoid errors during the online proctored online exam. Ensure you have all the handy information, right from all required writing material to valid log-in ID and password. Afterward, do not change the computer or the laptop you’ve tested to avoid any last-minute hassle.
Online and offline exam-taking from an educator’s perspective may not be very different. However, the process of taking the exam can be a bit divergent for the student. Hence, if you’re a first-time navigator, get your facts right about how the exam is structured, the due date to sign-up for the exam and what all needs to be submitted. Connect with fellow students and discuss how much time is allowed to complete the test, which would ensure you are not hard-pressed for time during the process. Every exam is different – what is allowed in one exam may not be permitted in another. Therefore, ask for guidance and clarifications from your faculty to ensure a seamless process.
Now let’s come to the educators. Apart from making oneself available for students, here is a list of considerations for an educator before initiating a web proctored exam.
The best way of ensuring a comfortable exam-taking experience for the students is by hosting a mock exam proctoring session for them. Running them through the entire process allows the students to understand the nitty-gritty of online exams, such as how to take the test and what is expected of them.
On the other hand, faculty can comprehend the mindset of the test–taker and can cushion each exam requirement as required.
It is critical to protect the sensitive details of the test-takers. Hence, educationists must ensure proper protocols with proctoring partners to safeguard students’ data, such as personal information and academic records, from data thefts and leakages. Academia should also manage airtight access to such information.
Establishing clear guidelines for exam proctoring from the beginning brings much transparency to the entire session – address queries such as the exam’s objective, how many questions to expect, the time in hand to complete the exam, grading system, and so on. There are no last-minute surprises once students know what to do and what is expected of them. The more explicit the rules, the easier the exam-taking process, and the lower the chances of any academic misconduct.
It is vital to remember that online exams are location and time-agnostic. This means not all students would be at the same location or in the same time zone. It makes it more critical for educators to be flexible with the exam dates, timings and deadlines. Subsequently, considering the intermittent of the internet at different places, educators also need to allow for some flexibility when test-takers are faced with technical issues. If a student gets logged out of a test due to a bad connection or power cut, the educator must have a command enabling him/her to resume the test from where he/she left, without any hassle.
The anxiety about doing something new is always high, so don’t worsen it by designing complicated online proctored exams. Now, this doesn’t mean one has to make an easy test paper. This means you should create easy-to-understand formats that can be answered without much assistance and hassles. Align the question papers to your learning modules as much as possible, which will also reduce the inclination to cheat.
Online proctored exams have always been a more convenient choice for examiners and examinees. But incompetent cheating detection tools have been a perennial concern for administrators as they jeopardize the examination’s, and the institution’s, integrity. However, with the emergence of AI and its serious usages in proctoring solution companies, such as Mercer | Mettl’s proctoring services, the potential to enable clients to safely, securely and efficiently undertake online proctored exams is going to be unprecedented.
We’re glad we’ve managed to grab your attention all this while. After all, we take examination integrity as seriously as you do, and that is why we innovate continually to help you keep up.
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Given below are answers to frequently asked questions that address typical queries of universities and organizations concerning online proctored exam cheating, remote proctored test meaning, online proctored exam at home, etc.
Subsequent proctoring is when images and logs are captured, and a video is recorded while candidates take the test, akin to a webcam proctored test. A proctor can later assess whether examinees engaged in questionable activities based on the evidence from the captured images. Such exams can be taken at a time of students’ convenience. They merely need to log in and commence the exam without prior scheduling.
No, it is extremely difficult to cheat in an online proctored exam due to the advancements in online proctoring software.
Online proctoring service providers tailor their offerings based on the 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 before making an informed decision.
Yes, online tests can detect cheating. Advanced proctoring software 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 the exams is integral to the success of the assessment process, be it high or low-stakes testing.
Yes, with the candidates’ permission, proctors can view the screens. A chatbox is visible on the candidates’ computer screens 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, eliminating the possibility of performing any covert activity. Proctors can access candidates’ systems only when they are granted access with explicit permission.
Yes, 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 as well. Everything occurring in a student’s room is under the proctor’s supervision. That’s where webcam monitoring or a webcam proctored test is beneficial and eliminates any scope of cheating.
Online video proctoring is where a prerequisite for the exam involves accepting screen, video and audio sharing. Afterward, an intelligent algorithm monitors the candidates and flags various doubtful cases, such as the non-visibility of the face/ presence, the detection of a mobile phone, and an additional person, a distracted eye movement, etc. Online video proctoring ensures the test-taker’s authenticity and eliminates suspicious behavior during the exam.
Originally published March 27 2018, Updated May 4 2021
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Online remote proctoring is the technology through which exams are conducted online in a cheating-free manner, using high-speed internet and a computer with a webcam. Online remote proctoring uses video streaming and AI or human proctors to invigilate large-scale exams securely.