The importance of purpose-built exam management and remote online proctoring solutions to deliver exams online

Kayleigh Kahlefeldt|March 30, 2022

With the changing landscape of education in 2022, Australian educational institutions need watertight exam management and remote online proctoring solutions to uphold their standards and reputation.

Australian higher education institutions and professional associations had to make several rapid changes when the pandemic forced them to move their learning and assessments online in the blink of an eye at the beginning of 2020.

Without the luxury of time to evaluate the integrity and reliability of market-leading exam management and online assessment solutions, many created their own workarounds in order to deliver exams virtually. This meant using the school’s existing software and technology such as online learning and videoconferencing software, Microsoft Teams or other platforms to attempt to perform the intricate task of remote online proctoring, or virtual supervision of an exam. But because these applications weren’t purpose-built to deliver remotely proctored online assessments, significant issues quickly arose.

Why does delivering exams online require purpose-built technology?

“Using video conferencing software to deliver online assessments has raised some unexpected challenges for Australian institutions,” says Janison Head of Customer and Event Support Rebecca Niemiec. “If you’re using technology that doesn’t have highly detailed facial recognition components, there’s an integrity concern to navigate to avoid cheating and ghostwriting becoming an issue.”

These platforms also lack the locked-down browser functionality that ensures academic integrity by blocking test-takers’ access to other software, websites and applications, as well as the ability to carry out a 360-degree scan of the room that they’re sitting in. “There’s the potential for a test-taker to be searching for information on another browser or another screen while they’re taking their exam or even be looking at information plastered on their walls,” says Rebecca. “When a remote invigilator is monitoring eight students at once, they could easily miss those signs without the support of invigilation technology.”

With the technology they had chosen to support online assessment proving insecure in key exam scenarios and staff cuts eliminating the possibility of increasing the number of in-house invigilators, higher education institutions and professional associations feared their academic standards and reputation were at stake. Many engaged external exam management and remote online proctoring services to bridge the gap, but the solutions varied in their capabilities and results were often egregious.

“Numerous companies rushed to offer these types of solutions, but they didn’t have the necessary resources or experience to deliver them on a large scale,” says Rebecca. “Now is the time for Australian institutions to re-evaluate their approach and adopt secure and reliable exam management and remote online proctoring solutions.”

“Higher education institutions and professional associations want to be certain that their test-takers will have a fair and equitable examination experience whether they do their exams in-person or online,” says Rebecca. “They also need to ensure their academic integrity will be upheld and that people who receive an accreditation from their institution have the skillset they’re certified for and are able to do their jobs.”

Experience is essential: Choose an exam management provider with a track record in high-stakes education

Engaging a highly experienced exam management company to oversee every aspect of exam delivery from beginning to end is crucial. Ideally, they will have a long track record in delivering assessments at large-scale for institutions of similar high standing to yours, or even state or national government education departments. From high-stakes invigilation services to secure handling of candidate and exam data, a company that is trusted by such educators and has decades of experience in the field will alleviate stress and safeguard your academic standards.

There’s no substitute for purpose-built assessment technology

Adopting trusted remote online proctoring technology is equally non-negotiable for institutions in this new era of online assessment. “It’s critical to have technology that effectively validates test-takers’ ID, monitors eye movement and detects any other subtle signs of academic dishonesty,” says Rebecca.

Even the best technology requires human discretion and intervention

As an extra safeguard, every infringement detected by the AI supervision technology should be validated by a human. “If you have a bird tweeting in the background during an online assessment, the AI might flag it as an infringement the whole way through,” says Rebecca. “A human needs to look over it and say, ‘This student has 58 flags during a two-hour assessment, but 56 of those are a bird tweeting.’ This dual system with state-of-the-art AI and a human component is actually far superior to the human eye alone in detecting cheating.”

How can remote online proctoring technology help test-takers?

Institutions aren’t the only ones who benefit from industry-leading remote online proctoring technology – it can help test-takers too.

“In the very early days of the pandemic, some groups were initially wary of remotely proctored exams, but there are huge benefits for test-takers as well,” says Rebecca. “People who struggle to travel, who live in remote communities or who have child-care challenges have a lot to gain from being able to take a test at home. Also, if a candidate struggles through their assessment because they have anxiety or their child gets sick and runs into the room, it’s all documented. We can see what’s happened far better thanks to the technology and we might be able to offer them an alternative assessment.”

The future of exam management

Hybrid learning and assessments are here to stay, so it’s critical for Australian educational institutions to evaluate the exam management and remote online proctoring solutions they have in place.

“If an institution’s exams aren’t secure and equitable, the value of the certification they’re trying to provide is discredited,” says Rebecca. “That’s a major concern for many higher education institutions and professional associations because their reputations are on the line. But it isn’t too late to seek out industry-leading solutions that will solve all these problems.”

To find out more about how Janison can help you deliver resilient exams and protect your academic integrity, contact our team today.

About the author

Kayleigh Kahlefeldt

Founder, Cornerstone Content

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