Online Proctoring: FAQs

John Kleeman HeadshotPosted by John Kleeman

Online proctoring was a hot-button topic at Questionmark’s annual Users Conference. And though we’ve discussed the pros and cons in this blog and even offered an infographic highlighting online versus test-center proctoring, many interesting questions arose during the Ensuring Exam Integrity with Online Proctoring  session I presented with Steve Lay at Questionmark Conference 2016.

I’ve compiled a few of those questions and offered answers to them. For context and additional information, make sure to check out a shortened version of our presentation. If you have any questions you’d like to add to the list, comment below!

What control does the online proctor have on the exam?

With Questionmark solutions, the online proctor can:

  • Converse with the participant
  • Pause and resume the exam
  • Give extra time if needed
  • Terminate the exam

What does an online proctor do if he/she suspects cheating?

Usually the proctor will terminate the exam and file a report to the exam sponsor.

What happens if the exam is interrupted, e.g. by someone coming in to the room?

This depends on your security protocols. Some organizations may decide  to terminate the exam and require another attempt. In some cases, if it seems an honest mistake, the organization may decide that the proctor can use discretion to permit the exam to continue.

Which is more secure, online or face-to-face proctoring?online proctoring

On balance, they are about equally secure.

Unfortunately there has been a lot of corruption with face-to-face proctoring, and online proctoring makes it much harder for participant and proctor to collude as there is no direct contact, and all communication can be logged.

But if the proctors are honest, it is easier to detect cheating aids in a face-to-face environment than via a video link.

What kind of exams is online proctoring good for?

Online proctoring works well for exams where:

  • The stakes are high and so you need the security of a proctor
  • Participants are in many different places, making travel to test centers costly
  • Participants are computer literate – have and know how to use their own PCs
  • Exams take 2-3 hours or less

If your technology or subject area changes frequently, then online proctoring is particularly good because you can easily give more frequent exams, without requiring candidates to travel.

What kind of exams is online proctoring less good for?

Online proctoring is less appropriate for exams where:

  • Exams are long and participants needs breaks
  • Exams where participants are local and it’s easy to get them into one place to take the exam
  • Participants do not have access to their own PC and/or are not computer literate

How do you prepare for online proctoring?

Here are some preparation tasks:

  • Brief and communicate with your participants about online proctoring
  • Define clearly the computer requirements for participants
  • Agree what happens in the event of incidents – e.g. suspected cheating, exam interruptions
  • Agree what ID is acceptable for participants and whether ID information is going to be stored
  • Make a candidate agreement or honor code which sets out what you expect from people to encourage them to take the exam fairly

I hope these Q&A and the linked presentation are interesting. You can find out more about Questionmark’s online proctoring solution here.

Partnering with ProctorU to Add Security to Higher Stakes Online Exams

Posted by Jim Farrell

On June 7th, Questionmark and ProctorU announced their partnership to add security to higher stakes exams taken outside a test center. For those of us within Questionmark, this was a very exciting announcement as it provided our customers with options that until recently were very limited.

For those of you unaware of ProctorU, let me give you some background. In the simplest of terms, ProctorU is an online, real-time proctoring service. Using webcams, screen-sharing technology and proven authentication techniques, live monitors oversee participants taking their examinations from home, work or anywhere. The monitor can see and hear the examinee and provide pre-exam assistance and technical support, maintaining the integrity of the testing process. ProctorU brings the test center to the test taker.

At Questionmark, we see Impersonation, Content Theft, and Cheating as serious threats to test security. Real-time monitoring directly combats each of these threats by:

  • Preventing ID Fraud – Each monitoring session starts with authentication techniques that ensure the test taker is who they say they are.
  • Protecting Content – ProctorU sessions are monitored in real time with screen sharing. If a monitor detects an anomaly, he/she can immediately end the session and send the video to someone for review before your content hits the Internet.
  • Minimizing Cheating – As part of the pre-test checking, the participant must scan the room and work area with his or her webcam. The monitor then watches the room via the webcam, listens via the computer’s microphone and uses screen sharing to monitor the test taker’s actions.

This is exciting to us because Questionmark’s goal is to provide the appropriate amount of security for the situation the test requires. Is this technology necessary for all types of assessments? No, of course not. But as more people work remotely and more students take course and tests online, there are plenty of assessments that require monitoring. Questionmark’s relationship with ProctorU allows for an easy-to-deploy, seamless, secure and fair experience for the test taker.

If you would like to know more about how live online proctoring works, you can tune in to a podcast with Jarrod Morgan of ProctorU.