Exams and schools have an inseparable relationship since both form a part of important components of an educational career of a person. This is because schools aid students in acquiring knowledge while exams help educational institutions to assess the extent to which the students have been able to process the same. Educational institutions used to conduct exams using traditional proctoring methods including pen-paper tests wherein students were required to physically mark their presence at examination centers and invigilators were required to keep an eye on the test takers to maintain academic integrity.
This entire setup was severely affected when CoVID brought everything to a standstill. The emergence of online exam software and remote proctoring software during these unprecedented times played a crucial role in not only ensuring continuity in the process of imparting knowledge but also in maintaining academic integrity. Its feature of authenticating the identities of online students also aided in maintaining the integrity of online courses provided by various platforms.
What is Proctoring
Proctoring refers to the act of keeping an eye on the students to ensure that they don’t cheat while taking an online test and is also imperative for maintaining the academic integrity of educational institutions. Proctors ensure that students adhere to the rules and regulations of examination and that the exams are conducted in accordance with standards in different locations.
Proctors have the liberty to access audio, video, and screen of test takers, assess if their students are taking help from any web sources, warn students to not resort to unfair means, and also terminate the exams if required.
Proctoring software is a technological invention that acts as an invigilator while students take online exams. It runs on a student’s devices and eliminates the chances of students resorting to unfair means by first verifying the test taker’s identity and also invigilating them throughout the examination process. This type of proctoring is represented by a cloud-based solution that integrates easily into a learning management system or a test platform.
There are various types of proctoring that come with customizable features thus leaving room for educational institutions to choose from. The type of invigilation which the online proctoring software can undertake depends on the type of proctoring solutions that are available as a choice for educational institutions.
- Live Proctoring: Live proctoring software ensures monitoring of the entire activity undertaken by the students throughout the exam. In this type of proctoring, a human invigilator keeps checking on the students in real-time via their webcams and microphones. This is an optimal solution for all the high stake exams as the human examiner has the liberty to not only deter cheating but also get in touch with the students in case they face problems.
- Recorded Proctoring: Recorded proctoring is devoid of human touch since in this type of proctoring the software uses a special feature with the aid of which the student’s data is recorded and stored during an online exam. The software performs this invigilation by accessing students’ microphones and cameras. After the test ends, a human proctor can easily review the video later for ensuring examination integrity.
- Automated (AI) Proctoring: Automated proctoring is a cutting-edge way of invigilation that does not require human intervention due to the existence of an inbuilt feature that runs on the test taker’s software and recorded the information from their screen, audio, and video feed to spot suspicious behavior. This is the most efficient type of invigilation as the proctor has the liberty to cancel the test taker’s exam in case it notices any suspicious activities.
Key features and functionality of proctoring software
- Exam monitoring: Online remote proctoring software ensures continuous monitoring of student’s activities throughout the exam with its three-step process which consists of verification, real-time monitoring coupled with data storage and review. The proctor before allowing students to take the exam verifies the test taker’s identities and permits them to take the test post that. While the students are taking the exam, the software monitors them in real-time with the liberty of cancelling students’ tests after giving them multiple warnings. The role of the invigilator however depends on the type of proctor opted by the educational institutions. Adding a cherry on top, the software also analyses the results as soon as the students submit their exams. It not only reviews but also stores the audio and video data which can be referred to in case of any controversy.
- Facial recognition: To ensure that students do not resort to impersonation, the online remote proctoring software verifies their identities by comparing their images from their webcams with the image provided by the students in their authentication documents. Students can proceed with the process of online examination only after they cross this hurdle.
- Suspicious behavior detection: Students nowadays have the option of taking online exams in the comfort of their homes but they cannot use unfair means to obtain higher marks due to the remote proctoring software that runs continuously while they take exams. The proctoring software accesses the videos and audio of the devices that are used by test takers to take the exam which enables it to detect their suspicious noise and background activities. Even if the test takers are referring to any book/study material from behind the computer’s screen, the proctoring successfully detects their eye movements.
- AI-Based algorithms: Online remote proctoring software comes with advanced-based algorithms such as improved face identification techniques coupled with machine learning which aids in confirming the authenticity of online exams. These algorithms reduce prejudice and human error which provides succinct, accurate results and successfully outperforms human proctors.
Benefits of proctoring software
- Enhanced exam security: Online remote proctoring software acts as a barrier against students resorting to cheating as students can although write their exams from a distant setting but cannot use unfair means. This is because students are monitored through cameras which verify their identities and reduce the chances of impersonation. Exam security is further enhanced when the video which the proctor captures throughout the exam process is saved and can be referred to in case of controversies.
- Improved academic integrity: Educational institutions nowadays have commenced preferring online mode of exams only because of the capability of remote proctoring software to conduct exams securely and in a malpractice-free manner. This type of proctoring has made the exam process more reliable since it has made it possible to monitor the students appearing for the examination from a remote location.
- Remote exam monitoring: Online remote proctoring software enables educational institutions to protect the credibility of the exams by providing them with the advantage of invigilating the entire assessment process remotely. In case the institutions opt for live proctoring, human invigilators can keep a check on the students through remote locations. It also gives them the option to detect students resorting to screen sharing on different tabs. On the other hand, institutions with automated proctoring can also maintain examination integrity without the presence of human invigilators.
- Time and cost savings: Conducting an exam on a large scale can take a major toll on the expenses to be incurred by educational institutions. Online exams can always result in saving costs as granting students the option to take the test in the comfort of their homes saves the costs which educational institutions have to incur for arranging exam centers and invigilators. Coupled with this, the prevalence of online remote proctoring software also eliminates the need to recruit a person for invigilating and is also more trusted. This not only saves costs but also time which would have otherwise been used for arranging all requirements which in turn is taken care of by online remote proctoring software.
Challenges of proctoring software
- Privacy concerns: Some of the remote proctoring software before permitting students to commence their online exams put forth demands of scanning the room where they are taking exams. This thus raises concerns for students who live with others in the same room as even they would appear in the scan video irrespective of their not consenting to the same. Apart from scanning the room, the software for verification requires students to submit a picture of their government IDs. This information which is held for a particular period exposes them to higher risk in case of the software being hacked by unauthorized hackers.
- Technical issues: Remote proctoring software is one of the best man-made technological inventions to maintain the integrity of online exams but all inventions are subject to facing technical glitches. The occurrence of these glitches, while students are in the midst of the exam, can hamper the credibility of the exam and thus devoid educational institutions of the assurance that students are being invigilated.
- False positives and negatives: The remote proctoring software stores the audio and video of the students throughout the exam to be used later in case of some controversy. This can however also produce fake positives and negative results in case of software facing technical glitches or being hacked.
A remote proctoring software thus authenticating the identities of students deters cheating and aids educational institutions in utilizing the process of online exams effectively and securely. This thus results in not only protecting the integrity of their brand but also preserving their reputation and further supporting the efforts put in by students for safeguarding their investments.
The presence of innumerable challenges for conducting online exams are not completely eliminated by this software but it however offers a viable solution to protect the educational process. We at Pesofts have the best remote proctoring software for all educational institutions. And all they have to do is call us. We’ll be happy to show you all the features of our software to ensure that you get the best experience and make the right choice.
Manjeet Mehta CEO @Pesofts
Manjeet Mehta is a professional writer and also the CEO @Pesofts. He passed out from IIT Roorkee in 2013 and started their own business, thinking of the growing education sector with the help of technology. You can check out LinkedIn and follow him here LinkedIn