Worldwide digitalization, along with the COVID-19 pandemic, has significantly affected the studying process. Nowadays, students can take educational courses entirely online, enjoying the benefits of e-learning. This is one of the key reasons why online proctoring services are gaining in popularity.
If you are still confused about the meaning of a proctored exam or want to dive deeper into remote proctoring technologies, their features, benefits, and requirements, read this article and find out everything you need to know about this integral element of the digital learning environment.
Proctored Testing Definition
The meaning of proctored exam implies that the testing process is overseen by a proctor who ensures academic integrity and prevents students from cheating. In the context of e-learning, the role of the invigilator is taken by a special software solution, which runs on a test-taker’s device and has access to their web camera and microphone. As a result, educational institutions can supervise the examination process in real time, thus reducing undesirable student activities.
Online proctoring service serves a multifaceted role in the realm of academics:
- Upholding academic integrity by ensuring honest conduct during examinations.
- Deterring students from unethical practices such as cheating, thus maintaining a level playing field.
- Offering necessary assistance and guidance to students during the exam session.
In addition to these, online proctored exams can also help to:
- Increase accessibility by facilitating examinations for test takers irrespective of their geographical location and the location of universities.
- Enhance efficiency and convenience by eliminating the need for physical invigilation.
- Enable instant feedback and quick results turnaround through automated grading and assessment processes.
- Promote fairness and objectivity by reducing the scope for human errors and biases.
- And more.
Understanding the Mechanism Behind Online Proctored Exams
At the heart of any online proctored examination lies a powerful software that empowers educational bodies to build assessments within their Learning Management Systems (LMS) or bespoke testing environments. The overall process of an exam session proctoring generally encompasses three critical stages: id verification, live supervision, and data archiving and evaluation. Let's delve into this process in more detail.
- Authentication. Every online proctored test starts with the authentication process. Test-takers are usually asked to enable their web cameras and provide their identification documents. Once the images from the two sources are compared and verified, the student can start the exam.
- Real-time monitoring. Online proctored testing means that students are being overseen during the whole exam session. Depending on the type of proctoring service, either a human proctor or AI-based software can continuously monitor students, flagging any suspicious activities and eliminating dishonesty.
- Data storage and review. Apart from detecting undesirable activities in real time, online proctoring usually involves video and audio data storage. Thus, if there are any disputable situations, exam cases can be reviewed after the test is finished.
Core Features of Proctored Exams
Once having decided to conduct an online proctored test, educational institutions have to choose among a big variety of features that they want to include in their online exam. Let’s consider the most popular of them.
- Video and audio recording allows for recording and storing data from a test-taker’s webcam, microphone, and screen.
- Student’s ID check helps examination centers to verify students’ identity and eliminate any suspicious activities during the session.
- Scoring is an AI-powered feature that measures the percentage of students’ honesty during the examination.
Besides these common characteristics, online testing may involve some extra features, such as content-copy protection, noise detection, facial recognition, web-tab control, mobile phone lock, locking browser, and others.
What Are the Types of Online Proctoring?
Online proctoring solutions are usually divided into three categories: live remote, recorded, and automated (AI) proctoring. Let’s find out the difference between them.
- Live remote proctoring implies that an exam is invigilated in real time by a live proctor (human), who both assists students, provides instructions if there are any questions and monitors their behavior to eliminate cheating.
- Recorded proctoring suggests that special software records student audio and video feeds during an exam so that a human proctor can review them after the test is finished.
- Automated or AI proctoring doesn’t require the interference of a human supervisor. The entire examination process is automated. AI-powered software monitors the test via webcam video and microphone, and if it flags any fraudulent student behavior, it presents a report to a proctor for further investigation.
What Are the Benefits of Online Proctoring?
Online proctoring is a robust tool that helps to establish the integrity and reliability of online exams. It comes with benefits for both students and educational institutions. Here are the most significant of them:
- Flexibility. Online proctored testing allows students to take exams anywhere and at any time, meaning that they don’t need to travel to their classes and campus locations, thus can enjoy the comfort of their homes.
- Fair test environment. Despite often being considered only as a tool to detect unethical student behavior, proctoring also ensures examination fairness.
- Decreased anxiety. Recorded and automated proctoring comes with less stress. Not only can students take an exam in a more comfortable place, but also there is no need to communicate with human examiners.
For educational institutions:
- Cost efficiency. Online proctored tests help organizers significantly reduce their administrative costs. They don’t have to rent the examination venue, hire as many human instructors, etc.
- High academic integrity. Online proctoring is an efficient tool to deter cheating that ensures the security of online exams and protects the reputation of educational institutions in the digital environment.
- Scalability. Online proctoring solutions allow organizers to increase the availability of their exams, thus attracting more students to their courses.
What You Should Know When Taking Online Proctored Exams
To take an online exam, students are required to have access to a particular technical infrastructure. They usually need a desktop computer or laptop that complies with the proctoring system requirements and has a web camera, microphone, and robust internet connection. Sometimes, students may also be asked to have a smartphone or other device that has a camera to provide a better view of the test-taking area.
Before beginning the exam session, students can utilize a special platform, such as ProctorEdu, to verify whether their hardware meets the necessary requirements for online proctoring. This provides an extra layer of assurance and minimizes potential technical glitches during the examination.
Once all the requirements are met, students can commence the test. During an online proctored exam, it’s recommended not to talk or make other noises since they can be interpreted as fraudulent behavior. Moreover, remember that as a rule, the test cannot be interrupted, meaning that you can not exit the room until the examination is finished.
Is There a Chance to Cheat on a Proctored Exam?
Cheating is a serious concern of modern education. Students are continuously creating new more sophisticated ways to undermine academic integrity. There is a chance of cheating during an online exam with proctoring, however, it’s very slight. Modern advanced software solutions make it almost impossible for students to bypass proctoring frameworks.
Online proctoring is gaining overwhelming popularity worldwide, fostering the adoption of e-learning. It’s an advantageous tool for both students and educational institutions. While test-takers enjoy the flexibility and fairness of online exams, organizers can reduce administrative costs and protect their reputation in the digital setting.
Nowadays there is a great variety of software solutions that offer various types of proctoring and come with a wide choice of features. Thus, every institution can build an online test in compliance with their requirements and benefit from a friendlier, more secure and efficient educational process.
How do I know if my exams will be proctored?
Before an online test, students usually receive a list of requirements, where it is also mentioned whether the exam implies proctors or proctoring solutions. Moreover, test-takers can’t commence an online invigilated examination without giving permission to be proctored and going through the authentication and verification processes.
Can they see you on a proctored exam?
During an online proctored test, students are usually asked to enable their web cameras and microphones. Live remote proctoring suggests that there is a human instructor who is to watch students’ video and audio feeds to eliminate any undesirable activities. When it comes to recorded and automated proctoring, the role of the invigilator is taken by special software that runs on a test-taker’s device.
Can you cheat on an online proctored exam?
Numerous cutting-edge proctoring solutions have rendered it almost impossible to cheat during an online exam. They come with a big variety of features (e.g., noise and voice detection, control of browser tabs, mobile phone lock, etc.) that ensure an ethical academic environment and protect the reputations of educational institutions.
What does a proctored test mean?
Proctored testing, often equated to online proctoring, implies that an exam is supervised in real time by a proctor via the students’ web cameras and microphones. Depending on the type of proctoring, the examination process can be monitored by either a live human instructor or special software, whose main goal is to ensure the integrity of online exams and deter cheating.