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Why Proctored Exams?

In an environment as highly globalized as today's world is, we seek to make appropriate use of technological resources that are available to humanity intending to significantly optimize the processes carried out by it and thus obtain a better quality of life. The educational field is not the exception because with the passage of time different tools have been implemented in order to facilitate the process of transmission of information and the interaction "Teacher-Student", taking that goal as a starting point (and thanks to the tremendous technological advances) it has been possible to design a significant amount of resources that considerably facilitate the teaching process, although many of these resources had the focus of significantly improving the existing environment in the "classroom", many others focused on seeking the comfort of those people who could not take their studies "full time", because of external situations which limited their ability to attend classes on a fixed schedule - either because of the fact they had jobs whose schedules prevented them from taking classes in "office hours", or because their homes were located at a considerable distance from an institute that gave classes on a standard schedule and even because they had different occupations which in some way or another prevented them from being able to comply with a fixed class schedule - that is when what we know today as distance education was born.

Although initially, distance education methods tended to be somewhat "rudimentary" (since these basically consisted of sharing resources with the student and indicating a study plan to be followed in order for the student to prepare to present a test at the established date and time) they were developed satisfactorily for many years, however, from the middle of the 2000s it became necessary to completely restructure the methodology used to carry out the process of "distance instruction" and thus virtual classes were born.

The virtual classes basically seek to take advantage of the globalization process and the full availability of internet services to achieve in this way, establish a web page that basically works as a classroom, allowing those students enrolled in a specific class to be able to maintain a dynamic communication process with their teacher so that they can share ideas, approaches, resources and even opinions with their students in real time, comfortably and straightforwardly without the need for them to move from one place to another and providing the "flexible" schedule they may need.

One of the significant problems associated with virtual education was the development of a safe and efficient method that would allow the development of tests and exams in a "safe" way, because unlike conventional distance education, it did not have an adequate method for the supervision of the student while he developed a test, since the curricula of conventional distance education were designed in such a way that the student should present his evidence by attending a specific place in which he would have a time limit for the development of the evaluation, such a process was supervised by a teacher or any other agent of the institution in order to verify that the student was not using support material or receiving any external assistance while presenting the evidence; in virtual education systems the thing was completely different, because although it was possible to establish the different parameters that the student had to comply with (delivery time, deadline, desired format), it was not possible to verify that it was, in fact, the student who was developing the test or if he is using some support material, it was as a result of this that we began to look for an adequate solution which would not only allow us to monitor the student visually but also restrict the use that the student gave to his computer while carrying out the tests, all this in order to avoid that the student had access to different resources that could be used as support material; From this need for supervision comes what is known today as online proctoring.

What is online proctoring?

As its name implies, online proctoring is a supervision service provided by different platforms to all those institutes that have virtual class programs. The service aims to assign a supervisor capable of analyzing the environment and behavior of a student (both in real time and through the analysis of videos and audios) while it is being evaluated, carrying out the supervision process, this basically will use different methods and resources that allow you to study in detail the behavior and environment of the student in question.

Once the test is finished and the resource used to carry out the supervision process has been analyzed, the supervisor will proceed to dictate its consideration, which, if positive, will allow the student to be evaluated in order to determine his/her grade based on the quality and veracity of his/her answers; if the supervisor considers that the student used some support resource during the development of his/her test, the student will be sanctioned correspondingly with the statutes of each organization.

At first the method was considered as "extremely invasive", however, with the passage of time, the same evolved to such an extent that it presents different advantages that surpass even the traditional methods of supervision, which is why it represents one of the leading and most efficient alternatives available to avoid cheating by those students who study on different virtual platforms.

Existing methods for carrying out the online proctoring process

As previously indicated, the online proctoring service has evolved considerably from its origins and the companies in charge of providing such a service have developed different methods that allow them to study the student in greater or less detail (everything will depend on the method) and even limit the interaction that the student has with his computer while the test is under development, to give a better idea of what is being described, then proceed to explain the methods commonly used to carry out the online proctoring process.

Real-time Proctoring

This methodology basically consists of monitoring the student through his webcam or the camera of his cell phone while the same develop the test in question, this method seeks to study in real time, the actions and the environment of the student while he is performing the test, with the intention of making sure that such student is not using any resource support; this methodology is usually used more frequently when the student must undergo verbal evaluations (in which the supervisor will not only supervise but also carry out the evaluation process) or written evaluations on paper (an event that is no longer very common) in which the student's gestures and facial expressions are supervised, as well as the environment in which the student develops the test to ensure that he or she is not using it, nor has access to support resources at the time of presenting.

Proctoring through the analysis of audio and video recordings

Unlike the previous method this consists of using the webcam, or the camera and microphone of the student's cell phone to carry out a process of audio and video recording in order to record the behavior of the student during the test, such recordings will be stored in an online storage service intended for that purpose, Currently, such recordings are usually protected by the use of cloud computing services, which are usually provided both by the organization in charge of carrying out the proctoring process and by a third party. Once the recordings have been archived, the supervisor proceeds to analyze them in detail in order to verify that the student did not use any support resources during the development of the test; Unlike real-time proctoring, this usually takes a few days to give a verdict, as supervisors usually tend to analyze a large number of recordings and this may postpone a little time associated with the delivery of results, once the recordings have been analyzed, proceeds to give a verdict that if positive will allow the student to be rated in a way corresponding to their performance or if negative will result in the sanction of the student. This method tends to be used by those organizations that use different specialized software to carry out the process of supervision of the students.

Proctoring through the use of specialized software

This method consists of using a specific type of software which is capable of "facilitating" the supervision process. It is essential to point out that there is different software for its application in the supervision area, and each one of them has different characteristics that help the supervisor to achieve his objectives.

Software designed with the sole intention of facilitating the monitoring process

They are that software that have as the only objective "to facilitate a little" the work of the supervisor, these usually must be installed in the computer of the student, and basically they are supported in processes of proctoring in real time or proctoring based on audio and video recordings, however, such software packages are also able to limit the use of specific applications that could be potential resources of support for a student while the test is in development. However, such software does not present the alternative of evaluating the student through its platform, which implies that these are designed solely and exclusively to carry out a monitoring process. Hence its use is limited to those institutions capable of evaluating through their platform.

Software designed to evaluate and carry out the supervision process

They are that software used by most institutions today, these not only have the ability to carry out the monitoring process both in real time and through recordings, but also allow the teacher of the subject to design an exam through its platform, so the student will not require the use of external applications during the evaluation process, so the program will proceed to limit the use of most applications in order to prevent the student from resorting to any of them as a support resource; Thanks to the options offered by this type of software, supervisors are able to analyze in detail the behavior of the student while they present the test and in some cases assign the grade immediately upon having a verdict regarding whether the student used a support resource or not. Although test results are published immediately upon obtaining a verdict, the evaluation process can take anywhere from 1 to 5 days.

As mentioned above, there is a large amount of software that provides the service of proctoring, however, most of them operate based on the methodologies outlined above and are selected by each institution based on their preferences and needs, it should be noted that in most cases the different functionalities offered by a software significantly influence the selection process carried out by the institutions.

How can online proctoring make the evaluation process more secure?

The origin of online proctoring is based on the need to verify that those students who were studying through the virtual platforms of the different existing institutes were not using any support resources during the development of their tests, because if you want to obtain a degree with a certain level of academic or professional relevance, it is necessary to use a system capable of ensuring that the student has the necessary skills to achieve, at some point, exercise the title obtained, as a result of the above it was necessary to develop an alternative approach to verify in a very timely manner the results of the tests performed.

Based on the above and over the years, the different online proctoring methods currently existing were developed; This is basically due to the fact that online proctoring has managed to overcome several of the disadvantages associated with conventional proctoring provided by teachers in classrooms, mainly due to the fact that it is oriented to be a service of "specialized attention" in which the supervisor concentrates on studying only one individual in order to determine through the study of his environment and facial expressions if he is using a support resource.

As previously established, the efficiency of online proctoring lies in the fact that only one individual is continuously monitored by a supervisor, which allows him to concentrate entirely on studying his gestures and expressions. Likewise, the different technologies used in the area allow even more punctual control of the actions taken by the student while he is developing his test, In order to reduce the level of fraud, some experts emphasized how an unsupervised online exam basically allowed students to resort to the different resources available and how such an event was solved in the conventional classrooms through the supervision of teachers, Fask, Englander, and Wang founded evidence that students taking an online unproctored test cheated more so those taking the same test in a proctored face-to-face format, taking such a statement as a starting point, it is possible to extrapolate the concept and establish that those students who take their virtual exams through online proctoring services have a significantly lower chance of using support resources when taking their exams, which makes the results obtained entirely accurate.

At a technical level it is possible to maintain a high level of security, given the quality of the service and the methods used to provide it allow not only collect the data but keep them free of any alteration or unsupervised modification, which ensures that the results obtained are 100% reliable and that students or any other external agent to the organization responsible for providing the service cannot have access to them (if they want to modify them).

It is because of all the above that online proctoring is not only an excellent alternative to significantly reduce the level of traps performed by students but also allows the proper handling and efficient storage of reliable data which demonstrate the considerations of each supervisor in terms of behavior and skills of the student.

Why would anyone need exam software that can provide online proctoring services?

As mentioned above, different programs and methods allow us to carry out the online proctoring process. However, nowadays it is much more efficient to have a program that not only allows us to carry out the proctoring process but also allows us to have a stable platform in which to carry out the evaluation process, this is due to the significant change that the educational environment has undergone in recent years, because although initially it was "not bad" to supervise a student while he was taking a written exam, such a practice has become completely inefficient due to how complicated it could be to carry out the process of proofreading (since it would be necessary for the student to digitalize the same to carry out the supervision process), as a result of such situations a program capable of carrying out not only the supervision process (which is considerably facilitated thanks to the restriction of specific applications that these programs provide) but also the evaluation tends to be a much more attractive and favorable option in part thanks to all the facilities it provides, as this allows the supervisor to focus specifically on detailing the behavior of the student while he is developing his test, on the other hand, it is simpler for the teacher in charge of teaching the subject to design an examination based on multiple choice questions, completion as well as other options that allow simplifying the evaluation process considerably.

What kind of institutions requires a program that allows them to carry out evaluation tasks and online proctoring?

Definitely all those institutions that provide distance education services (especially those that provide professional instruction) should have a software that allows them to carry out safe evaluations that can ensure the veracity of their results and the capacity of their students, because this will be what gives credibility to the degrees issued by such an institute, is why universities, training centers, language schools and any other institute that provides any virtual instruction should implement a system for the development of evaluations that includes an online proctoring service.

Test Invite, the newest proposal when it comes to proctoring

With Test Invite, you can get access to a proctoring service that not only allows you to carry out monitoring processes but also allows you to conduct tests through the most modern platform for conducting virtual exams, such platform provides the ability to create very advanced exams incorporating different techniques such as multiple sections, the ability to establish a random pattern in the order in which questions appear, the integration of a bank of questions, the ability to ask questions in audio and video formats, the ability to set time limits, the much needed restriction of applications and many more; on the other hand our cloud computing service was built entirely from scratch based on the infrastructure used by Google, which allows you to store a countless number of exams and recordings simultaneously, it will also be possible to carry out a monitoring process through the analysis of audio and video recorded while the student presents or carry out a monitoring process in real time if desired. It is because of all the above that Test Invite represents the best option for your institution as long as it gives virtual classes, or whether it wants to join such a teaching method, if you want to contact our services and implement our software you can find us on our website TestInvite.com, remember that proctoring regarding Test Invite is your best alternative.

Contact us if you would like to conduct online proctored exams

E-mail: info@testinvite.com
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