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Exam proctoring is akin to an actual classroom setting which is proctor monitored in real-time from a place of their choosing. Proctors intervene upon observing anything suspicious. Exam proctoring simplifies the entire exams process for both educators and students and lends fairness and feasibility to the invigilation process.
Exam proctoring enables test-taking and test-hosting from any part of the world. That means one can easily take a web proctored exam or an online proctored exam at home, at a library, a quiet center, or any other safe environment.
However, one of the most significant challenges in adopting online exam proctoring is for those for whom the traditional system of center-based exams has for ages worked well. But with ‘return to business as usual’ still burdened with conundrum, can one afford to sit and stare? We don’t think so. The future is dynamic, there is an urgency to evolve, and it is time to embrace a little change.
Hence, we bring to you a transitory handbook that is an excellent source of information about administering web proctored exams for all users, such as administrators and students.
In this miniature hand-book, 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 – How do online proctored exams work?
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 old and traditional habits. Let this hand-book validate all your arguments and address all your apprehensions around the ubiquitous phenomenon of online exam proctoring.
Together, let us go beyond our self-invented limits and plan for a more tech-enabled futuristic academic year.
Needless to say, as a sizable number of examiners leverage online exams proctoring through the web, mobile devices, and other knowhow; a variety of digital platforms and technologies have emerged to push for digitization. Concepts such as exam proctoring, AI-driven monitoring, and LMS innovations, to say the least, have made an explosive entry, dynamically shifting the focus towards web proctored exams. While most of the varsity across the globe either seems to be talking about it or embracing it, there are still a few trying to keep pace by wondering how to unlock this opportunity. They are progressive, no doubt, but need assistance in closing some gaps that’ll help 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, web proctored exams for both educationists and students. It provides some background knowledge that’ll help ease the entities into the system and eliminate any hiccup they have.
A web proctored exam, involves a proctor overseeing an exam and monitoring the students online by using a webcam-and-microphone-compatible computer and an uninterrupted internet connection. A host of advanced anti-cheating technology at the proctor’s disposal negates instances of any unwarranted activity during a web proctored exam.
A proctor is an experienced supervisor or invigilator who is hired specifically to remotely monitor students or candidates during an online examination from start to finish.
The basic requirements of engaging in exam proctoring involve access to –
Online proctoring can be used by:
TIP: Looking to decipher the right proctoring type for your exam? We have a solution right here! Let’s explore
It is extremely difficult for students to cheat in an online proctored exam due to the advancements in online proctoring software. Whether through facial recognition software, audio proctoring or scanning devices, on-screen monitoring software, or onboarding biometric equipment; online proctoring service providers have invested massive time and resources to plug in the loopholes and improve the quality of cheating prevention mechanisms and functionalities.
TIP: If you’re looking for some intel on how innovatively students tend to cheat in online exams, this blog will open your mind- Read more
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.
Imagine sitting for an exam but having no supervision during the process. Wouldn’t there be a slight temptation to cheat? Not for all, but for some students 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 result 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 giving the exams. Hence, administering un-proctored exams can create a potential bump in an institute’s credibility.
During online proctoring, however, test-takers know innovative technologies and vigilant proctors constantly monitor and analyze their behaviors and activities. Hence, they are more mindful of their actions and try not to trick the system.
You’ll be surprised to know 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 right decision-making. Here’s how-
In a center-based exam, a student is only allowed to enter the hall and write the exam once his/her identity is verified across all checkpoints by the invigilators present in the examination room. Now, the identification process is the same in online exam proctoring. Students can take a web proctored test only after-
The test-takers have allowed for screen proctoring, video proctoring and audio proctoring.
Once the test-takers are verified in a center-based exam, they take their designated seats, and the exam commences. The physical invigilators then spring into action and 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. It also ensures those who register for an online course are the ones who participate and complete it. Concurrently, online test proctoring gives them an added advantage of leveraging anti-cheating tools that streamline patrolling and negate academic integrity issues by enhancing the entire exam-taking process’s efficiency.
Does this bust your concerns around web proctored exams? Aren’t web proctored exams a significant replacement for recreating the same proctoring experience without raising concerns over safety or faith?
Well, if you need some more detailed proof around the safety of web proctored tests and the various cheating prevention mechanism that is leveraged to thaw even the sneakiest cheating attempt- the next chapter awaits you.
For all those wondering what really makes having online proctoring as 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 weight to the idea of adopting an online proctoring solution.
As we mentioned earlier, there are always a handful of students who resort to cheating while taking the online proctored exam. But with advanced exam proctoring at play, teachers, recruiters and administrators are empowered to closely monitor test-takers’ actions and conduct. This serves as a significant deterrent when test-takers know a prolific digital tool validates their identity and monitors them online, relentlessly, from start to finish.
MOOCs, also known as massive open online courses, are easily accessible eLearning programs. There was genuine skepticism about enrollments as it was too much 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. However, online remote proctoring solutions paved the way for eLearning, which is perceived as the future of learning. Candidates could enroll from anywhere and learn new skills and subjects – which was no longer correspondence education. Students gained access to world-class education and evaluation benchmarked against the best in the world with web proctored exams.
The conventional examination method comprise the following steps:
This process stretched for months and was excruciatingly time-consuming. Not to mention the geographical limitations that came into play. But employing smart technology such as an online proctored examination significantly reduces logistics hassles, evaluation issues and scalability problems for many. With the easy and convenient availability of a proctor (manual or AI), test-takers in far-flung areas can take their exams from their homes with ease. Simultaneously, while deterring cheating, exam proctoring enhances productivity and improves operations by eliminating repetitive and manual 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.
Needless to say, an online proctored system is revolutionizing the education sector. It has drastically reduced the number of hours spent in the classrooms and has made exams a more engaging and enjoyable experience.
Test proctoring software is the latest technology employed by administrators to create a secure testing environment to curb instances of academic dishonesty. It analyzes the –
By using an advanced AI mechanism, proctors ensure no student has an unfair advantage. Hence, test proctoring software has become a critical component to overcoming disruptions or any form of misconduct, thereby ensuring learning and education continuity.
Let’s explore the above-mentioned facets of test proctoring software, that when enabled, ensures a flawless exam administration:
Since the prerequisite for exam proctoring involves accepting screen sharing, video proctoring and audio proctoring, an online invigilator with the help of an AI, monitors every action and activity of the test-taker remotely. Conditions such as an applicant’s face not visible or partially visible, presence of another person in the room, constantly distracted movements, presence of an unauthorized device, whispering in the room, to name a few accounts as suspicious activities and are often flagged off during the exam proctoring process. It is at the proctor’s behest whether to count 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 keeping an eye on the candidate’s on-screen activity. Indeed, some ingenious students try and trick the proctor by exploiting navigation privileges or using online resources for cheating on-screen. Proctors manage to 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. This means:
If you thought monitoring just the test-taker’s actions was enough, you might want to take into account helpers who often collaborate with test-takers and help them cheat. 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, fair examinations by scanning and verifying the test-taking environment. Tools such as-
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 feed coverage, 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 noise using the microphone, an audio proctoring software ascertains the differences between sounds that can and must not be in a testing environment.
We genuinely hope the previous chapters have brought much ease to your exam proctoring anxiety. You’ve been able to resolve issues hindering your consideration of implementing them both as a student and as an educator. If yes, then it’s time we move onto understanding the process of a web proctored exam and the technicalities involved in setting it up.
A proctored exam is a two-sided affair involving a candidate and a proctor. A remote proctor, on average, invigilates 6-32 test-takers simultaneously with a one-to-many or one-to-one view. The distance is immaterial, given the provision of minimal internet connection speed. The test can commence with all the prerequisites in place. Here is a quick summary of the commencement of a web proctored exam.
Certain online proctoring solutions will also have proctoring tools such as secure exam browser running in the background to limit navigation control, to restrict the use of Nano-sized, non-wired devices such as Bluetooth earpiece or to stops test-takers from using software and tools such as screen-sharing, WhatsApp and mirroring during the exam.
So here’s how this functions:
Not every institute has its own LMS or platform to conduct the examination. Hence, they require a combination of both the 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 then deliver results. A dedicated admin dashboard shares detailed analytics and log and video proctoring 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.
For institutes that already have their own LMS or platform but need only a seamless layer of proctoring technology, they can get proctoring added as a service. Proctoring as a service is an AI-powered or manual layer of remote supervision that can be integrated into 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:
|LTI based integration||Deep integration|
|Configuration based: No need of writing code||Simple APIs to easily integrate proctoring with few lines of code|
|Integration in minutes||Integrate with any web-based services e.g. LMSs, examination platform etc.|
|Integration with over 250+ LTI complaint LMSs/ other platform||Enable custom workflows|
A. By using LTI (Learning Tool Interoperability) extensions. For instance, Gartner verified proctoring company, Mercer | Mettl 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.
Mettl proctoring as a Service is already compatible and available on leading LTI compliant LMSs such as Canvas, Blackboard and Moodle via a Google Chrome Extension. This means online proctored exams can be administered with a click of a button that too without leaving the LMS environment.
The student only has 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, they will be shown a pop-up where they will be notified about proctoring. Once verification checks are in order, a pop-up saying ‘Begin Exam’ will be visible and the student’s exam will start.
TIP: Looking to add a proctoring plug-in to your LMS? Here’s how you can do so in a jiffy- Know More
Now that you know what it is that you need to activate exam proctoring, it is time you move on to selecting the vendors that provide such solutions.
Selecting the right online proctoring solution can be challenging. After all, there is no dearth of online solutions available in the market, but there certainly is utter confusion in comprehending which vendor or which service is best suited for your needs. Worry not; we’ve already done the hard work for you.
From those providing a state-of-the-art online proctoring system, sophisticated online invigilation service to those giving detailed candidate diagnostic reports on student/candidate performance, 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 many a time tends to get the better of us. But as Tom Peters would say it, “Unless you walk out into the unknown, the odds of making a profound difference in your life are pretty low.” This is why we consulted some exam proctoring experts and accessed their knowledge for the best tips and some creative tricks that would help educators and test-takers benefit from the exam proctoring route.
So, let’s first dive into the considerations a student should take into account before taking a web proctored exam. Apart from resisting to indulge in any form of cheating, here’s how students can ensure a seamless online proctored exam session.
Understandably, 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 original exam. When you take a mock version, not only do you get acclimated with the computer, the location, and the process, but you’re also in a better place to judge your own performance. Simultaneously, it gets you acquainted 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, which helps make the test-taker comfortable and eases any anxiety they have.
Before you start the online proctored exam, make sure the space you choose to give your exam from is quiet, safe and well-lit. Your surroundings are uncluttered, and you should be alone in your room. Ideally, inform your family members of your exam schedule, so there is no disturbance during that time if you chose to take the exam from home. AI-powered proctoring tools are very advanced at picking up even the slightest whisper. Make sure there is no noise or unwanted device anywhere within your reach that can be flagged as suspicious or create doubt in the 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 internet are tested to avoid errors during the online proctored exam. Ensure you have all the handy information right from all required writing material to the valid login id and password. Once all this is done, do not change the computer or the laptop you’ve tested to avoid any last-minute hassle.
While online and offline exam-taking from the educator’s point of view might not be very different, the process of giving 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-dates to sign-up for the exam and what all needs to be submitted. Connect with fellow students and discuss how much time one has to complete the test and so that you are not jammed during the process. Every exam is different; what is allowed in one might not be permitted in another, so ask for guidance and clarifications from your faculty so that the process is seamless.
Now let’s come to the educators. Apart from making oneself available for students, here is a list of considerations an educator should take into account 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. By running them through the entire process, the students understand the nitty-gritty of online exams, such as -how to take the test and what all is expected from them. On the other hand, faculty can comprehend what the mind-set of the test–taker is and can cushion each exam requirement as per the need.
It is essential and critical to protecting the sensitive details of the test-taker. Hence, educationists should have proper protocols that safely preserve students’ data, such as personal information and academic records, from being exploited. Academia should also manage who accesses such information.
Building mutually clear guidelines for exam proctoring since the beginning brings much transparency to the entire session. Address queries like the exam’s objective, how many questions to expect, the amount of time in-hand to complete the exam, grading system, and so on. Once students know what to do and what is expected of them, there are no last-minute surprises. The more explicit the rules, the easier is the exam-taking process, and the lesser are the chances of any academic misconduct.
It is vital to remember that online exams are location and time-agnostic. This means neither will all students be in the exact location nor in the same time-zone. Thereby making it all the more critical for educators to be flexible with the exam dates, exam times and deadlines. Subsequently, considering how intermittent the internet is across the world, educators also need to avoid panic-stricken situations by enabling some flexibility concerning 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 that lets them resume the test without any hassle.
As it is, the anxiety with doing something new is always high, don’t make it worse by designing complicated online proctored exams. Now, this doesn’t mean one has to make an easy test-paper. This means create easy to understand formats that can be answered without much assistance and hassle. Align them with your learning modules as much as you can, and this will also reduce the inclination to cheat.
Online proctored systems have always been a more convenient choice for the examiner and the examinee alike. But incompetent cheating depicting tools have been a perennial concern for administrators as it jeopardizes the examination and institute’s integrity. But with the emergence of AI and its hard core use in proctoring solution companies such as Mercer | Mettl’s proctoring services, the potential to enable clients to safely, securely and efficiently ensure online proctored exams is going to be unprecedented.
We’re glad we’ve managed to have your attention all this while. After all, we take examination integrity as seriously as you do, and that is why we constantly innovate to help you keep up.
Is there anything else you need our assistance in?
Do share with me. I’d love to examine them and solve them for you.
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Given below are answers to the frequently asked questions that address common queries of universities and organizations, concerning online proctored exam cheating, proctor system, image proctoring, remote proctored test meaning, online proctored exam at home.
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.
Yes, with the candidates’ permission, proctors can view the screens. 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.
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 the 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 for cheating.
Online video proctoring is where a prerequisite for the exam involves accepting screen sharing, video proctoring and audio proctoring. An intelligent algorithm then monitors the candidates and flags 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. Online Video Proctoring ensures the test-taker’s authenticity and eliminate suspicious behavior during the exam.
Originally published March 27 2018, Updated December 3 2021
Shirisha has been helping countless brands gain traction with her content. Her deep understanding of the education sector and sound knowledge of technical skills have helped her structure the most creative solutions for key stakeholders. Shirisha has also ghosted pieces for several industry honcho’s successfully published both online and offline. When she's not keeping up with the world, you're sure to find her catching up on bollywood stories or gramming for fun.
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.
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