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The role of protecting exam integrity     

An exam invigilator or proctor’s role in an exam hall setting is long-established. For many, when they recall taking an exam, it conjures memories of sitting at a desk in an exam hall or test centre. Of invigilators patrolling the rows to check that you haven’t sneaked in any illicit items or notes.

Their role is to ensure there’s no untoward behaviour, verify candidate identities and protect the integrity of the exam.

It’s a system that’s been standard practice and used very successfully in high stakes examinations for many years.

However, with the Covid-19 pandemic, educational institutions have found themselves unable to conduct exams in the traditional way. They have faced challenges of coming up with alternative, ‘Covid secure’ ways to run their high stakes exams.

Whilst moving exams online would seemingly be the simple answer, for some, the invigilation element provides a stumbling block. With external invigilation being a required element, establishing how this can be managed remotely is an additional consideration.

Remote proctoring

Fortunately, there’s a solution in the form of remote proctoring. A service that mimics the role exam invigilators normally take, but for remote online exams. Plus, it’s a tried and tested service that’s already been used successfully by many.

To ensure that we are offering the best service to our customers, Speedwell has integrated a proctoring module within the eSystem. So now, if you have purchased the proctoring option as part of your exam package, you can seamlessly create and run remote, online proctored exams.

Typically, a proctored remote exam will be timed, whilst the candidate’s device, webcam and audio are monitored. There are different remote proctoring options available, however, common options include live proctoring, or automated which is a record and review proctoring service. Both of these options are offered in the eSystem proctoring module.

So, you have the flexibility to choose the best option for your organisation based on both exam and budget requirements.

Live proctoring

With the live proctoring service, Candidates are monitored by a remote proctor as the exam is taking place. It’s the most secure choice for online high stakes examinations.

The service offers live candidate identity authentication, low ratio proctoring and real-time on-screen tech support to candidates if needed. Proctors can also intervene to prevent a violation and block access to the exam. Any violations that occur will be flagged for review.

To ensure maximum quality of proctoring results, highly trained professionals will review the recorded exam session and authentication before releasing the audio, video, and violation flag data to examiners. All videos have timestamped comments associated with specific violations.

Automated proctoring

Automated proctoring is also available as an alternative to live proctoring. By using AI-driven software, automated proctoring provides a convenient and cost-effective solution for lower stakes exams.

Automated proctoring starts with auto authentication where candidates will follow simple steps to validate their ID. Once the exam begins, the system captures audio, motion, and systemic changes to flag potential violations. After the exam, human auditors will review the entire session before releasing the video, audio and violation flag data to examiners. As with live proctoring, all videos have timestamped comments associated with specific violations.

Running a proctored exam within eSystem

If you decide to purchase the proctoring module, we’ll configure your eSystem to allow you to create proctored exams. You’ll then see ‘Proctoring’ as an option under the security tab when setting up an exam.

There are various options for the exam administrator to select for each exam for example they can allow permitted items, such as a calculator, paper etc. or allocate candidates extra time if required. It’s at this point that the administrator can also add any specific instructions for candidates.

Once complete, the exam can be scheduled. Scheduling the exam with eSystem is simple – the software does it for you with the click of a button. Scheduling can be reviewed and should there be any issues, it’s easy to cancel and re-do it.

Seamless Candidate experience

When integrating the proctoring module, the candidate experience was at the forefront of our mind. We wanted to ensure the process is as seamless as possible. When the candidate is ready to take the exam, they sign in to the eSystem exam delivery, as usual. Here they will see a ‘Take proctored’ link. Once clicked this will take them directly to the proctor site and after authentication, they take the exam in the normal way.

Simple, clear reporting

After the exam has taken place, examiners will be able to access the exam session video and reports. A clear traffic light flag system is used so that any issues can quickly and easily be identified and reviewed by the examiner.

Each incidence is accompanied by a comment by the invigilator to quantify what happened. It may be for example that there were some technical issues during the exam that the invigilator needed to intervene with, or it may be that some unusual behaviour is flagged and it is likely then that the institution would want to follow up and investigate further.

Is remote proctoring as robust as a test centre environment?

The average proctor rating with remote proctoring is 2:1 which is better than you would normally expect in test centre conditions. This is because, during a proctored remote exam, the proctor has several things to monitor at all times; the candidate’s face, the candidate’s exam/platform, and the candidate’s control panel/task manager. The latter is so that checks can be made on candidate’s shortcut key use, mouse functions, if they have any applications running and so on.

Additionally, this ratio also ensures that should candidates experience any technical issues or have support requirements during the exam that there is adequate support to ensure that each candidate is helped as they need it.

Finally, with the recorded sessions and post-exam audits available we’re confident in the robustness of the service and you can be confident of the integrity of your exams.

Get in touch

To find out more about our eSystem, running secure online proctored exams, or how we can assist you, contact us. Call our sales team on +44 (0) 1223 851703 or email info@speedwellsoftware.com