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Testing times

Malpractices can be eliminated in online proctored exams if administered properly.

Malpractices can be eliminated in online proctored exams if administered properly.

COVID-19 has been accelerating the adoption of online learning and teaching worldwide. While many of the traditional methods such as lecturing and communication can be substituted, other aspects such as assessments and exams are fraught with challenges. With the transition from an offline to an online assessment system, it’s more important now to establish reliable techniques for objective evaluations.

Remote proctored examinations combine the elements of a traditional exam hall with the ability to have an invigilator observe remotely. Some characteristics of actual tests such as proctor intervention during the test, time and various questioning strategies (multiple choices, open-ended questions, matching, theory, and so on) continue to be relevant. Exam malpractices may be common in offline exams but can be eliminated in online proctored exams if administered properly.

Positives

Online remote proctoring is the practice of invigilating an online test from any place to ensure exam integrity and minimise any undesirable conduct. A working audio mic, web camera, and screen sharing are all one needs to monitor a candidate. Exams can be proctored in a variety of ways and institutes must examine their internal environment to see what works best for their needs.

Students’ identities can be verified when they sit down at their computer, and can be directly monitored using a webcam, microphone and proctoring technologies. Lockdown browsers prevent students from accessing other websites or doing anything else while taking the exam. They cannot switch between screens to look up answers or message classmates. As a result, their activity is restricted to the completion of their test. Therefore, while it provides students with the scheduling freedom they need it also offers instructors a guarantee of academic integrity.

Flip side

However, in times like the pandemic when mental health issues are a concern, remote proctoring might be a cause of stress. Many believe that remote proctoring systems violate their privacy and some kinds may be inaccessible to students with impairments. The other factor is expense, with some institutions paying huge amounts for access to these services. Also not every student has access to high-speed, dependable Internet at home. This might make it difficult for them to properly use remote proctoring technologies, especially if they are only permitted to connect to a test session once.

With online exams gaining in popularity and acceptance, the knowledge and experience gained during the sudden pandemic-induced shift can be used to meet the rising demand in a consistent manner. With better infrastructure, more people will get access to the Internet. This will allow more students to take the exams remotely. Similarly, institutions and universities are attempting to reach a larger student population by conducting remotely proctored exams. This also helps them keep their academic calendars on track and not disrupt the students’ plans.

The writer is the CEO, MeritTrac Services, a UNext company


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Printable version | May 19, 2022 6:58:44 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/education/are-online-exams-with-remote-proctoring-the-way-forward/article38163089.ece