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Proctored Exams for Universities

February 6, 2020

Proctored Exams for Universities

The Lowdown

While there are still a few universities that allow their students to take some of their exams without a proctor, increased online education, along with raised awareness, has created a higher demand for proctored exams. Trending today, proctored tests are available in all shapes and sizes. Site locations have broadened from traditional university locales to home testing making home proctored exam sites more the norm than the exception.

We are enjoying increased online education and the by-product of this expansion is the witnessed growth in external proctoring services. As an industry, there are a lot of opportunities for these resources. Depending on the course of studies, and university requirements, both test takers and universities are benefiting from these practices. Universities are realizing tremendous financial benefit by lowering their costs with proctored exams.

It is interesting to note just how much proctored exams have changed but there are almost as many examples of proctoring scenarios as there are historical meanings for the word “proctor”. We don’t need to take a stroll down memory lane to know that proctors are regarded as high officials upholding the virtues of professionalism while monitoring test takers.

In today’s world, acceptable proctors can be teachers, other university staff or third party entities that provide external proctoring services. Proctors bear the weight and responsibility of overseeing the testing which is not always for educational purposes, (i.e., required courses for specific disciplines) but also for very specific employment purposes such as certification exams for tradespeople.

And yes, we really do need proctored exams in universities because human beings are still capable of cheating. Proctored exams make it that much more difficult for students and non-students to resist being drawn into the temptations of dishonesty.

Many of these people already have the built-in trust from the individuals taking the tests thus making it even less desirable for the test taker to be lured into a nefarious act such as cheating on their exam while under the scrutiny of a community-minded individual. But, it still begs the question of who should be proctoring your exams?

What do we know with certainty?

Without a doubt, it is verboten for you to have a relative or close personal friend administer your exam. You should refrain from having a direct supervisor or colleague proctor your exam. It is recommended you make arrangements with an external proctoring service to avoid this type of conflict that might result in scrutiny of your test results.

Additional preventative measures are available to test takers to stave off fraudulent behaviours. In addition to the weight placed on the upstanding characteristics of the test taker and proctor, assurances are placed on the proctor exam methods to help ensure the integrity required for excellence in the proctoring process. More sophisticated technologies are available to help bolster truthfulness from both test takers and proctors. As colleges and universities expand their exam options, there are several excellent options for proctored exams.

Types of proctored exams

These the main types of proctoring:

1. Live Online Proctoring: A qualified proctor monitors test-takers using real-time audio-video and screen-sharing capabilities. Though limited in scope, this is a great process for people who live in remote locations as they can be tested and monitored via the web.

2. Recorded Proctoring: In this arrangement, there is a real-time recording but no proctor present. The test is recorded, logged and reviewed at a later time. The challenge for this type of testing is that it requires the service provider to have significant storage capabilities but is a great tool for identifying suspicious behaviours or detecting other malfeasances.

3. Advanced Automated Proctoring: This is the most advanced proctoring method available. The audio-video and screen sharing feeds are recorded during test-taking but there is an added bonus. On top of the recording, the automated proctoring system monitors the transmissions for any suspicious activity by using advanced video and audio analytics. This testing method has the capability for facial recognition for authenticating the test taker and uses advanced technologies for detecting fraudulent activities.

4. Proctored exams at test centres: Although technology has leaped forward significantly, the majority of universities still prefer the traditional proctoring exam services offered by test centres versus online proctoring. They refer their students to take tests at the centres they partner with as the centres can guarantee the integrity and security of the exam environment. Proctored exams offered at test centres are trusted not only by universities but also by professional associations and accreditation bodies, and still remain the most reliable way of taking exams.

No matter where you take your exam you will be required to study, show up and take the test without cheating. The difference in your testing experience lies only in the way you are proctored.

Last but certainly not least

The job of your proctor is to watch you - the test-taker – to make sure your test is being administered properly. From time to time there may be additional time or special allowances but these are rare exceptions.

Proctoring online is safe, affordable and growing at a fast pace. Predicted to be a $10 billion market by 2026 in all areas – educational, vocational, corporate and training – if you haven’t yet experienced proctored exams you most likely will get a chance to do so in the future.

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