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What is proctoring and how it makes online testing easier

What is proctoring and how it makes online testing easier

During the attendance tests, the regularity is supervised by an educator or trained specialist. But if a college entrance exam or a similarly important test takes place remotely via a computer, online proctoring ensures control. Find out what this method of supervision entails, how it works, which type of tests it is suitable for, or what role artificial intelligence (AI) has.

Imagine a situation where 2,000 students have to take the test at the same time. In the past, the faculty would write down a deadline, meet applicants for a place, hand them papers with questions, and they would get to work.

Today it is possible to do something similar Organize the exam online and it brings all the benefits of remote communication:

  • Students do not have to go down to one building, they just log in from their computer at the right time — from Norway, India or Kazakhstan.
  • the school avoids most organizational responsibilities such as arranging classrooms, arranging supervision, or printing tests.

“However, the school still needs to ensure a fair examination. And that's what online proctoring is for.” explains Johana Šperlová, who is in charge of the business development of ScioLink's online testing platform.

The principle of online proctoring

Online testing is a new industry whose development has taken full swing with lockdowns during the pandemic. There are different variants of proctoring, but its purpose is always verification that the test is being taken by the correct person and that the test complies with the rules.

“During covid, it was common for a teacher to assign an exam through an online platform like Teams or Zoom. He divided the students into rooms and checked in real time to see if they were writing,” Šperlová describes, saying that if the supervisor noticed something suspicious, he admonished the student.

However, for important tests, this is not enough to ensure fair conditions. Therefore, surveillance has been improved with the help of automation and the involvement of artificial intelligence. In practice, this means that a student or applicant for studies:

  • verify their identity, for example by presenting an ID card in front of a webcam,
  • briefly films the surroundings of his workplace,
  • sets up desktop sharing,
  • leaves the webcam and microphone on during the test
  • and answers questions.
In one of the initial identification steps, the student must film the surroundings of their workplace. It takes a few seconds and the ScioLink platform guides it.

No one supervises the student during the exam. However, it arises a recording that is evaluated by artificial intelligence — for some solutions in real time, in others only after the test has been completed. If the algorithms notice something non-standard (e.g. a mobile phone lying on a desk, headphones, a copy from a textbook, from the next window of an Internet browser or external monitor, a friend in the room indicating the correct answers), the AI will flag the corresponding passage of the recording.

 “The next procedure varies according to the type of online proctoring. Some solutions rely only on artificial intelligence, we chose the path of combining AI and the human factor,” adds Šperlová. To all Thus, the records will be received by a team of trained evaluators after completion of the exam. They will review the initial identification of students, examine suspicious passages marked by AI, and determine if the AI was right or everything was fine.

This is how the examiner sees the exam record. Thanks to notes from artificial intelligence, it quickly finds out which passages to examine in more detail.

“If the examiner assesses the test as irregular, the record goes to the commissioner, who confirms or refutes the wrongdoing. We see artificial intelligence as a helper. He does a black job for a person and he can focus on the key moments.” explains ScioLink's approach to online proctoring by Šperlová.

What rules do online proctoring follow

It always depends on the requirements of the school. In the preparation of the test you choose what the artificial intelligence (and then the human evaluator) should notice. For example, if you don't mind students writing notes on paper or using a calculator, the algorithms won't mark the relevant part of the recordings.

“But the notepad or calculator is directly part of the environment in which students fill out the test. They can even upload samples, pictures or similar tools ahead of time, so students can have a really empty desk during the test,” points out Šperlová.

A built-in calculator or notepad will make it easier to fill out the test. The school itself determines what aids students can use.

In general, proctoring notices if:

  • is a student in the room alone,
  • does not use prohibited gadgets or pullers,
  • does not copy from a mobile phone or other computer
  • or someone else doesn't mind him.

Thus, the scope resembles a classic check in a classroom exam. But thanks to artificial intelligence, you will keep control of a much larger group of students.

Find out how we have solved the protection of sensitive student data in ScioLink >>

Which type of exams is online proctoring suitable for

The use of online proctoring is most useful in important tests that affect the future of students. These are known professionally as high-stakes exams and include:

  • university entrance examinations,
  • stateswoman
  • or progress tests for multi-semester courses.

“It is also a very elegant solution in a situation where you have a certain proportion of students or applicants to study abroad, or for so-called distance learners in combined studies,” recommends Šperlová and provides an example when online proctoring is not needed: “If you just want to encourage students a little to learn, but it doesn't matter so much about the outcome. “

With online testing with proctoring, you can see more students thanks to artificial intelligence and get rid of much of the organizational work.

What are the technical requirements for the functioning of proctoring

First, a brief answer: ScioLink's online proctoring works even on a regular laptop or desktop computer and doesn't have to be complicated to set up.

And now the answer is more technical. In order for the online exam with proctoring to go as it should, students must use a technique that meets the following requirements:

  • operating system: Windows 10 or macOS Sierra 10.12 and later,
  • internet connection: download at least 5MB/s, upload 1MB/s,
  • processor: at least 2,0 GHz,
  • operating memory: 4 GB,
  • free disk space: at least 8 GB,
  • Internet browser: Google Chrome 70 and later (cookies, JavaScript and HTML5 enabled)
  • display resolution: at least 1024×768 px,
  • webcam: resolution at least 480×360 px,
  • microphone.

“A few days before the exam, students check the connection speed or compatibility of the computer. We call this mandatory device inspection or onboarding, and the student clicks through the practice test and initial identification with the ID card. He gives it a few minutes and then he has confidence that everything will work out.” concludes Sperlová. During the exam, students technical support availablethat will help them in trouble.

We will prepare a simple website for the school in advance, where students will find all instructions and a link to the test platform, where they will try out technical equipment or practice questions.

Who develops online proctoring

There are two main players behind ScioLink's solution. Concept, methodology, complete test organization, test evaluation and customer support are provided by Scio experts, which has been helping with the modernization of Czech education for almost 30 years — every year, among other things, it provides National Comparative Examinations for 25,000 applicants for higher education.

Artificial intelligence is being developed by a young Czech company Born Digitalthat successfully uses it across a wide range of modern platforms — e.g. for faster customer support and technical assistance, for more effective onboarding of new employees, or for more sophisticated satisfaction surveys. Their smart algorithms are used by organizations such as ČEZ, AXA, Innogy, Deutsche Telekom, SAZKA, Packeta and Samsung.

The technical solution of the platform is provided by Microsoft's Azure cloud solution.

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