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Examination and Proctoring | 6 Min Read

Time to Say Goodbye to Cheating in Online Tests!

What is a Test Proctor?

A proctor is an authorized official who takes charge of supervisory duties for a variety of positions. The role perception of a proctor varies from country to country. For instance, in countries like Australia and England, a proctor carries a very high level of authority, however, in America and various other countries, it refers to that person who monitors assessments and exams. Test proctors keep a watchful eye on students taking a test. They may be used in a brick-and-mortar education system, but they are extensively used in online education systems and stand indispensable for the eLearning industry.

The test proctor is accountable for maintaining integrity during the examination, ensuring that students do not manipulate or beat the system in any way. They may also perform the task of explaining the test guidelines and passing out the assessment itself. When it comes to vouching for the credibility of online exams, a proctor will leave no stones unturned. It is always a proctor who shoulders the responsibility to facilitate the smooth functioning of online tests, where integrity is at stake. One simple mistake could put the credibility of any exam (be it a high or low stake) in jeopardy. That’s why the proctor examines a candidate’s every move, leaving no room for cheating and deception.

What is Mettl’s Advanced Online Proctoring

Have you taken digital exams/tests at your school or in a competition and thought, “If only I got myself a cheat sheet, no one here would’ve noticed!”? or felt tempted to tap or wink at a neighbor for that one, single answer that will give you an edge over many? Well, cheating during exams is more common than most people realize. But with the advent of technology, it nowadays seems infeasible.

Some of you will be imagining CCTVs in exam halls and security-room-in-action-movie like invigilation rooms. You’re not too far from reality. Technology today is enabling exam admins, teachers, recruiters to see, hear and even smell (OK, exaggeration here) the exam candidate, sitting thousands of miles away. Mettl is empowering these exam admins, teachers, and recruiters with technology to do the same with our advanced online proctoring feature.

It is a step up from our current web and images online proctoring features. For those who aren’t familiar with these, here’s a brief run-down on this:

Web Proctor Feature:

It defines a top limit for the number of times the candidate can navigate away from their test screen and also pops a warning or terminates the test depending on the admin set limit.

Image Proctor Feature:

It activates the candidate’s webcam and takes random shots of the candidate in the duration of the test – these get appended in the automatically generated report.

With advanced online proctoring features, the test admin will be able to do all of the above and get the live feed on the candidate’s progress on the test, live – With webcam feed in case of advanced image proctoring and an image free, candidate-wise test progress.

The test admin can see all the candidates in a grid view on the dashboard (see image below) and do all of the following:

Advanced Online Proctoring Features:

  • Can watch the live feed of the candidate
  • Get live images of candidates updates every few seconds
  • Chat with the candidate
  • Make announcements
  • See automatically generated red flags (Flagged by our SW depending on any suspicious behavior)
  • Pull up a live feed of any candidate with history at any stage in the test
  • Terminate any test from the dashboard
  • View the candidate’s screen- live!

Online Proctoring - Prevent from cheating in online tests

The advanced video proctoring feature is doing away with manual invigilation requirements. It is a boon for conducting high-stakes tests like the CAT, GMAT, etc. and even off-site recruitment drives.

Video Proctoring:

Online remote proctoring seems incomplete without a mention of video proctoring. This is one of the most sought-after modes of proctoring to encourage transparency and integrity in the administration of very high stake exams, where continuous monitoring of candidates via video streaming takes place. Here remote proctor can have a live chat with candidates from far-flung areas, use the facility of pausing/resuming online exams, and verify if the respondent is following the test guidelines without indulging in any unfair means during the exam.

Video proctoring tools provide unparalleled security during live or post-testing sessions and take much less time for deployment. The tool comes with unique proctoring capabilities that enable users to manage controlled recordings during a live and non-live human review of test sessions. This video-based proctoring solution is readily available for both Mac and PC platforms and lends unparalleled ease to conduct remote exam proctoring.

Universities and colleges across the globe are in dire need of safeguarding the sanctity of their online assessments. There’s nothing like implementing reliable and well-tested video proctoring solutions that give fresh impetus to carry out online exams with utmost security and peace of mind. Moreover, firms undertaking the implementation of standardized testing environments can deploy video proctoring solutions at scale to all their test workstations. A safe and secure online exam environment is critical for addressing the integrity challenges that prevail while administering exams on a large scale, which is why video proctoring is a must-have solution.

How to Prevent Cheating in an Online Test

There is a strong probability that students can indulge in cheating effortlessly. After all, what can we do to prevent students from cheating on online exams?  As advanced technology gets more accessible, providing innovative solutions to complex problems, let’s not forget that miscreants can misuse the technology to their advantage. Here are some ways to address this issue:

Disabling Copy-Paste:

By disabling the copy-paste feature in an online exam system will restrict participants from copying and pasting data during the test. The exam mustn’t allow candidates to select and copy-paste anything when taking an exam. It’s highly likely that examinees might try to grab a screenshot of the page, and that’s where this feature comes in handy.

Setting a Timer:

Sneaky cheaters take careful steps and are extra cautious during the exam. Invigilators must keep a keen eye on the activities of candidates. As a thumb rule, participants who are well prepared for their exam will not take ample time to complete the test. On the contrary, unprepared students spent hours, eyeing opportunities to cheat should an opportunity arise. A probable solution to this is setting up a timer either for the whole exam or every question.

Resequencing Questions:

More often than not, test questions are available in the same sequence that can make cheating easier for students. The surefire solution to address this issue is question randomization. Whether creating assessments, exams, tests, or quizzes, an exam generator enables the user to apply a variety of randomization options to the test. 

Problem-Solving Questions:

Test creators should not use such questions that entail memorizing specific information; instead, they should use problem-solving questions that require a strong understanding of spatial relationships and processes. The reason is that answers to such questions are neither readily available on the internet nor in the textbooks. This is one way that cheating activities can be curbed.

Lockdown Browser:

It’s a custom browser that adds more security to the exam environment by disabling those features that can be misused. When the lockdown browser is enabled during an exam, it restricts candidates from accessing other websites, switching applications, copying or printing questions, or even taking screenshots.

How to Proctor a Test (Both Online and Offline)?

How to Proctor a Test (Offline)?

A test proctor’s responsibility is to supervise students during an exam and maintain high standards of integrity that the academician would maintain. Prior preparation helps a proctor to understand the exact assessment requirements before entering the test center or classroom.

Here’s a stepwise process to proctor a test:

  • Reach out to the professor that assigned the test. Understand what items are allowed and prohibited during the test. Also, if there are special instructions that need to be passed down to the candidates. You can ask the start time and total time duration of the exam.  You should be well-aware of where to go to retrieve the test on the test day.  Jot down all the information and carry it along with you into the exam center.
  • Acclimate yourself to the exam environment as you need to stay in the testing room for the entire test session. You should avoid stepping out for your own needs once the test begins. Arriving a bit early at the venue will help in making necessary provisions beforehand, such as retrieving all the required information regarding the test before passing on specific instructions to the candidates.
  • Explain the do’s and don’ts, along with any other instructions given by the professor, to the students. Candidates need to be wary of the things that are non-permissible in the exam hall.
  • Now is the time to keep a watchful eye on students. Watch for any deceptive tactics or strategies of cheats during the exam. Students must understand the criticality of the situation and maintain exam decorum throughout the exam. However, if someone gets caught, it’s up to the proctor to take the appropriate action, which could be a warning of sorts.
  • Once the test is complete, you can collect the exam material and hand it over to the professor’s office. Sign the exam sheet if required by the professor and turn in your feedback notes regarding the exam session, including the list of suspicious candidates.

You may also want to read: Proctoring Services Suite: Maintaining the Integrity of Online Exams

How to Proctor a Test (Online)?

Online proctoring, also known as remote proctoring, is a systematic arrangement in which the candidates are monitored via technology tools such as a webcam, mic, and screen of the device, which is currently in use. Online proctoring happens in three significant ways:

  • Live Online Test Proctoring:

An authorized proctor can carefully observe the examinees’ audio-video and screen-sharing feeds in real-time from anywhere. It is quite similar to the offline proctoring except for the fact that proctor can operate from anywhere. This method is quite expensive and not apt for scalability.

  • Recorded Proctoring:

In this mode, a proctor reviews the candidates’ audio-video and screen share feeds to share his/her analysis with other officials. Typically, the recordings are played at full speed manner for identifying any suspicious activities.

  • Automated Proctoring:

Auto proctoring tests are devised to eliminate the need for human intervention; that’s why automated proctoring is quite popular nowadays. It comes with advanced features like face recognition technology that helps in authenticating candidates’ identities. The system stores audio-video and screen share feeds and makes use of advanced audio and video analytics to monitor any suspicious activities at the same time. Auto proctoring limits participants’ logins to specific IP addresses and disables copy-pasting. It restricts the candidates from switching the window or using any other applications during the exam. It also includes mouse tracking, candidate navigation, and other critical functions. Since there are no time and location constraints involved in this system, it can be a robust and economical solution.

How Mercer| Mettl Can Help?

Universities, colleges, and educational institutes have turned to technology for smooth conduction of their entrance exams, semester exams, or course certifications. Undoubtedly, switching to online exam platforms is the most convenient way of managing the massive scale of examinations. However, maintaining the security, validity, and integrity of online exams is everybody’s biggest concern. Mercer-Mettl’s suite of advanced proctoring technologies is your go-to solution for conducting high stake exams with high integrity. The suite includes three-point candidate authentication checks to eliminate the risk of fraud and impersonation in online exams.

We provide proctoring sessions that are either AI or human-based in a secured exam environment so you can rest assured that your examinations are appropriately taken care of. Monitor any suspicious activity with our full range of budget-friendly online proctoring services that best suits your requirements. When it comes to conducting high-stakes assessments, our robust and reliable proctoring technology caters to a broad spectrum of examinations. Further to that, our state of the art AI weeds out any logical hassle and offers impeccable accuracy in preventing cheating.

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Originally published March 21 2018, Updated June 16 2020

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