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How to proctor remote exams is a dilemma that many are considering for the first time amid the Coronavirus pandemic. As institutions implement plans to move exams online, thoughts naturally turn to how to maintain assessment security and integrity in these extraordinary circumstances. This is where remote proctoring services can help.

What is remote proctoring and what are the options?

Remote proctoring, put simply, is a service that mimics the role an exam invigilator would normally take, but for remote online 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 a record and review service. With a live proctoring service – there’s a team of remote proctors available to monitor the exam as its taking place. On the other hand, a record and review service records the exam which will then be reviewed by a proctoring professional after its taken place. In both instances, reports are then produced and sent to the institution with any findings. The record and review option is generally more automated and thus more cost-effective. Giving institutions the option to choose which is most appropriate for their situation and budget.

Regardless of the method chosen, it’s vital to ensure that it’s compatible with the exam software being used for the exam. We work with a number of partners who offer proctoring solutions, so if you’re looking for a proctoring solution that would work with Speedwell’s eSystem contact us.

How does remote proctoring protect the exam integrity and prevent cheating?

A common fear is that remote online exams make it easier to cheat by getting someone else to take the exam. With remote proctoring services this needn’t be a concern as they include methods to authenticate candidate’s identities.  Such as requiring candidates to upload photo ID, which can be verified by checking the ID photo matches the person taking the exam via the webcam footage.

The potential for candidates accessing websites or files on their device is also frequently raised. Remote proctoring services have procedures in place to deter this. For example, listing any websites that have been visited during the exam. If a candidate did visit a website, this would be detailed in the report and would immediately raise suspicions to examiners reviewing the exam afterwards.

However, if you use eSystem exam software to run the exam, it’s possible to prevent candidates accessing files or websites from their device during the assessment. This is because the eSystem has a lock-down function – a feature that completely locks down the device whilst the exam is being taken. Used as an alternative to using a remote proctoring service, the lock-down feature is another way to provide confidence in exam integrity and ensure candidates cannot cheat. Our eSystem also has a host of other features which make it possible to run secure exams remotely. Read more here.

In a remote proctoring service, the use of webcams and audio means candidates are closely monitored to prevent them using forbidden items, such as cheat sheets, notes, alternative devices or even having a friend out of sight giving them the answers! Some remote proctor providers also have the added option of using the candidate’s smartphone camera to give an additional viewing angle during the proctored exam.

Arguably, with such close monitoring, remote proctoring online exams could offer a more robust solution to catching and preventing cheating.  In a test centre exam setting, commonly there are only a few invigilators in the room compared to the number of candidates. They can’t be watching all candidates at all times. With remote proctoring, and in particular, the record and review method each and every candidate is monitored for the duration of the exam.

All the benefits of online exam management software

In addition, by moving to online exams, you’ll benefit from several other features to help streamline and improve your exam processes. With eSystem, you can create, administer, run, analyse and report on your exams with one easy-to-use integrated assessment system – from any location.

There is a sophisticated question bank to store and manage exam questions. In-built features such as exam blueprinting and statistical analysis both of which provide valuable insights for ongoing improvement of exams. A candidate feedback tool allows timely, personalised and detailed student feedback. Students can log-in and view their feedback at a place and time to suit them.  And much more…

Maybe, after the COVID-19 crisis, this will pave the way for new ways of conducting large scale assessments. And, despite the present climate offering few alternatives, perhaps the legacy of this time will be a tried and tested blueprint of how to successfully run secure remote examinations.

Get in touch

Please contact us if you would like to find out more about our eSystem, running secure remote exams or how we can assist you. Call our sales team on +44 (0) 1223 851703 or email