Using exam management and online proctoring to deliver 2022 HSC assessments in a COVID world

Kayleigh Kahlefeldt|March 22, 2022

With Australia facing a severe secondary teacher shortage, high schools across the country are seeking outside help to deliver HSC exams and assessments in a reliable and COVID-safe manner.

Recent unreleased Federal Government modelling has revealed that 4,000 additional high school teachers will be needed across Australia over the next four years. The greatest shortages will be in New South Wales – with a predicted shortfall of 1,700 educators within three years – and Queensland.

The Federal Government also predicts more than 50,000 teachers will exit the profession between 2020 and 2025. Faced with current staff shortages and these concerning projections, high schools around the country are searching for timely solutions to deliver their HSC assessments in dependable and COVID-safe ways. A hybrid combination of external industry-leading assessment management specialists and remote online proctoring solutions could be the answer.

“Many Australian high schools don’t have adequate spaces to run COVID-safe face-to-face exams or the staff to run them due to the significant teacher shortages,” says Rebecca Niemiec, Head of Customer and Event Support at Janison. “A large proportion of the assessment invigilator staff that schools were drawing on prior to the pandemic are in at-risk categories, so they can’t enter an environment where they could easily be exposed to COVID. High schools are now seeking reputable exam management and remote online proctoring solutions to help deliver HSC assessments both safely and reliably.”

Adopting tried-and-tested exam management solutions can give schools a fast advantage

In the rush to adopt exam administration services overnight at the beginning of the pandemic, many Australian schools made costly mistakes. Overwhelmed by a sea of competitors offering solutions that all seemed the same, many chose companies that were new to the exam management industry and weren’t able to deliver their solutions at scale.

The associated cost to their reputation is one that schools can ill afford to bear. HSC assessments and examinations are high stakes for students, who rely on them as a gateway into their chosen careers, and for schools who thrive and are funded on the quality of their educational services. Safeguarding their reputation is paramount to their continued success.

Rebecca believes that now is the time for Australian high schools to adopt smooth, secure and dependable exam management solutions with proven track records. “This is the first really big stress test with high schools starting their 2022 HSC assessment periods that go all the way through to August,” she says.

“Teachers and school administrators are already stretched to their absolute limits and they need to find dependable ways to deliver HSC assessments in spite of COVID and other unexpected events to help relieve the pressure. They’re seeking trusted companies who have been living and breathing exam management for decades.”

Leveraging remote online proctoring technology to deliver HSC assessments

In addition to in-person examination management solutions, high schools have the opportunity to take advantage of reliable remote online proctoring technology to accommodate HSC students who are forced to miss key assessments due to COVID isolation or other unpredictable events such as floods.

“The need for a hybrid delivery model is still as important – if not more important – than it was at the height of the pandemic,” says Rebecca. “For students who are immunocompromised or who can’t attend school for other reasons, the school has an equity obligation to ensure they still have the same access to education.

So, it’s vital for schools to ensure that the same level of integrity is applied to an assessment whether the student is taking it in a classroom with a teacher standing in front of them or they’re sitting at home. We don’t want to see any child adversely affected by the fact that they have to study from home.”

COVID disruption notwithstanding, it’s likely that schools will need to begin planning for the HSC to transition away from pen and paper and towards running on computers in the very near future. The NSW education minister publicly signalled a preference to move the HSC online “if it is to remain a world-class qualification” and “to reflect the increasingly digital world we are living in”.

Many remote online proctoring solutions that were hastily adopted at the beginning of COVID weren’t able to deliver the level of reliability and integrity high schools require for their HSC assessments. Now schools have the opportunity to stand back and ensure their needs are truly met.

“High schools should be seeking software that is fairly agnostic whereby all you need is a device, but you don’t need to have the latest operating systems to deliver it,” says Rebecca. “This will help to alleviate some of the socioeconomic concerns in terms of equitable assessment delivery because a broader range of students will be able to access and use it.”

There are a few other important equity components schools should be looking for in their remote online proctoring software. “It should be simple enough for primary age children to navigate it easily so that HSC students are likely to be adept with it,” says Rebecca. “It should also be able to identify faces with different skin tones with high accuracy.”

From a security standpoint, remote online proctoring software should be able to perform facial mapping and match students with their ID with a high degree of exactitude. “Schools need to be certain that the person taking their assessment for their HSC is the same candidate that’s on their ID card,” says Rebecca. “They also need state-of-the-art AI monitoring to detect possible signs of cheating that can then be validated by a human. This dual monitoring is actually far superior in detecting instances of cheating than the human eye alone.”

Taking the leap into a hybrid HSC assessment model

Whether schools are looking for ways to accommodate the online or hybrid learning needs of their students or they’re seeking assistance in planning, delivering and reporting on examinations to avoid leaning on already scarce internal resources, there are solutions to help them become HSC ready and better prepared to deliver excellent experiences.

To find out more about how Janison Exam Management and Janison Remote can help you deliver smooth, secure and equitable HSC assessments to all your high school students, contact our team today.

About the author

Kayleigh Kahlefeldt

Founder, Cornerstone Content

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