The Evolution of Proctored Exams in the Digital Age

 Evolution of Proctored Exams

15, Feb 2023

The Impact Of Technology On Education

Technological advancement has turned the world into a place where education transcends physical boundaries. Online learning platforms, digital tools, and multimedia resources have revolutionised education, offering learners the flexibility to access knowledge at their own pace, anytime, and anywhere.

According to a research study, the global e-learning market, valued at 144 billion U.S. dollars in 2019, is projected to reach an impressive 374.3 billion U.S. dollars by 2026. The COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated the adoption of online learning, necessitating a shift to remote or hybrid delivery methods.

As online learning gains traction, the demand for effective online assessment methods grows. This is precisely where online proctored exams come into play.

The Need For Proctored Exams In Online Learning

Proctored exams play a key role in the realm of online learning. They serve as guardians, ensuring online learners not only validate their identity but also complete coursework and assignments independently. Beyond this, proctored exams uphold the learning objectives and standards of a course or program, adding credibility to online education.

Yet, the path to conducting proctored exams in online learning is not without its challenges. From finding suitable locations, times, and devices for online exams to verifying the identity and behaviour of test-takers, preventing cheating or fraud, and ensuring the security and privacy of data – these are complex issues that require thoughtful consideration.

To address these challenges, the education world has witnessed the emergence of virtual proctoring and online examination systems.

Online Proctored Exams

Online proctored exams incorporate elements like webcams, microphones, screen-sharing software, biometric authentication, artificial intelligence (AI), and even human proctors.

 Evolution of Proctored Exams

Let's explore the three types:

  • Live Proctoring : With live proctoring a human proctor can monitor the test-taker in real-time through video and audio feeds. They can communicate, intervene if something suspicious is detected, or even terminate the exam if necessary.
  • Recorded Proctoring : Here, the test-takers' video and audio feeds are recorded during the exam and later reviewed by a human proctor or an AI system. Any anomalies or violations are then flagged.
  • Automated Proctoring : With the help of Automated Proctoring, algorithms monitor the test-takers video and audio feeds, detecting facial recognition, eye movement, keystrokes, mouse clicks, browser activity, background noise, and more. The AI system can alert or warn the test-taker if irregularities are detected.

Online Proctored Exams Have Many Advantages.

Some of them are:

Convenience :

Online proctoring offers unparalleled convenience. Online learners can undertake proctored exams from any location with an internet connection and a compatible device. Additionally, they have the flexibility to choose a time slot that aligns with their personal schedule, fostering a more user-centric approach to assessments. 0

Cost-Effectiveness :

Embracing online proctoring translates to cost savings for educators. Traditional costs associated with physical venues, staff, and materials are significantly reduced. On the flip side, online learners also benefit from decreased travel expenses, contributing to a more economically viable education model.

Scalability :

The scalability of online proctoring is a game-changer for educators. They can seamlessly administer proctored exams to a large number of test-takers simultaneously, all while maintaining the quality and security of assessments. This scalability ensures efficiency in the evaluation process without compromising on standards.

Flexibility :

Educators can tailor online proctoring settings to meet their specific needs and preferences. From choosing the type of online proctoring to determining the level of invigilation, setting rules and policies, and defining the duration and format of the exam– flexibility is at the core of online proctoring. This adaptability ensures a customised and optimised assessment experience.

However, as with any technological marvel, online proctored exams have their set of challenges:

  • Technical Issues : Issues of internet connectivity, device compatibility, and software installation may occasionally disrupt the exam experience or outcome.
  • Cheating Risks : Crafty online learners may find ingenious ways to cheat or bypass the online proctoring system, from external devices to notes or helpers, or manipulating video and audio feeds.
  • Privacy Concerns : Reservations about sharing personal information, images, or data with the online proctoring system or service provider, coupled with worries about the security and confidentiality of their data.

What Is Online Proctored Exam? How Does Remote Proctored Exam Work?

Online Examination System

The online examination system is not just a software application; it's a powerhouse that empowers online educators to create, administer, and grade online exams with unmatched efficiency.

 Evolution of Proctored Exams

Let's explore its unique features:

Question Bank :

Think of it as a treasure trove of questions categorised by topic, difficulty level, and type. Online educators can create their own questions or choose from pre-made ones in the question bank.

Exam Builder :

An artist's palette for online educators, the exam builder is a tool that allows them to design and customise their online exams. From setting the exam name, description, and instructions to determining duration, passing score, feedback, and more – it's all in the educator's hands.

They can also choose the question type, decide the number and order of questions, and set the scoring method.

Exam Delivery :

This is the platform where online learners dive into their exams. With simple log-in procedures, they can view exam details and instructions, and start and submit the exam hassle-free.

Exam Proctoring :

Integrating seamlessly with online proctoring, this feature allows online educators to enable proctoring for their exams and choose the type and level of supervision they desire.

Exam Grading :

Automation takes centre stage here, as the system automatically grades exams based on predefined answers and scoring criteria. If needed, educators can also step in for manual grading.

Exam Analysis :

The analytics hub of the system, this module generates comprehensive reports and statistics on exam performance and results. Educators can delve into overall results, individual test-taker performance, question-wise analysis, difficulty analysis, and more. They can export or share these reports as needed.

Online Examination Software For Post-Exam Analysis

The benefits of an online examination system are as diverse as the features themselves:

  • Efficiency : Online educators can create and manage exams with unparalleled ease and speed, saving significant time and effort on grading and reporting.
  • Accuracy : Eliminating human errors and biases, online examination systems provide consistent and reliable results every time.
  • Interactivity : Offering a variety of question types and formats that enhance the engagement and learning of online test-takers. The system also provides instant feedback and remediation.
  • Accessibility : Making online exams available to anyone with an internet connection and a compatible device, accommodating different needs and preferences by offering options such as language selection, font size adjustment, colour contrast adjustment, and more.

However, the road isn't without its bumps:

  • Validity : Despite the wonders of an online examination system, it may fall short in measuring all learning outcomes and competencies or capturing the nuances of certain subjects or topics.
  • Security : The ever-looming spectre of hacking or data breaches that could compromise the integrity and confidentiality of online exams and results.
  • Usability : Not everyone may find online examination systems user-friendly or intuitive, requiring some learners or educators to undergo training or seek support for effective use.

The Future Of Proctored Exams

With advancing technology and online proctoring, the education sector envisions a bright and advanced future, full of opportunities ahead.

Let's explore the emerging trends and opportunities that lie ahead:

Gamification :

Ever thought exams could be fun? Gamification is here to turn that thought into reality.

Applying game elements and principles to education and assessment can make proctored exams more enjoyable, motivating, and rewarding for online learners. Additionally, it provides valuable data and insights into online learner behaviour, attitude, and performance.

Adaptive Testing :

Say hello to personalised exams!

Adaptive testing is a form of assessment that adjusts the difficulty level of questions based on the test-taker's responses. This not only makes proctored exams more efficient but also ensures fairness for online learners.

The cherry on top? More accurate and precise results reflect online learners' abilities, knowledge, and skills.

Blockchain :

Explore blockchain technology for secure, transparent, and unalterable transactions.

This technology has the potential to make proctored exams more trustworthy, verifiable, and traceable for both online learners and educators. It offers enhanced protection and ownership of online learner data, credentials, and achievements.

End Note :

Online proctored exams have transformed in the digital age, providing a key tool for educators to verify the identity and behaviour of online test-takers. By combining webcams, microphones, screen-sharing software, biometric authentication, AI, and human proctors, online proctoring offers convenience, cost-effectiveness, and scalability.

Despite presenting challenges such as technical issues and cheating risks, these challenges can be mitigated with proper planning, preparation, and implementation. The future of online proctored exams will be shaped by emerging technologies such as blockchain, machine learning, and biometrics.

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Posted By:
Prashant Borkar

Prashant Borkar,

Academic Consultant

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