29 Jul 2021 17:33 IST

Analysing the impact of remotely proctored exams

Online assessments, a cost-effective solution to conduct large-scale exams, and eliminate bias in evaluation

The education sector has been gradually evolving with changing needs and demands. While the adoption was initially slow, the pandemic outbreak compelled educational institutions to practically transform overnight and rely on digital solutions as an essential gear to guarantee learning congruity. Technological solutions in education have now become a necessary reality especially as initial apprehensions are slowly being eliminated.

However, conducting examinations with digital technology remains a point of contention. Some universities cancelled exams altogether while few others preferred to implement remote proctored examination solutions as a solid alternative to offline exams. Some students are disappointed since they had spent the entire year preparing for the examinations. And while people’s health and well-being is of primary importance, skipping or cancelling exams will have a detrimental impact on the students’ future.

School officials believe the abrogation of board assessments has elicited a mixed response with some students who performed well in school wanting to take the exams and others not so much. Many feel that the incorporation of Class 9 and 11 grades in the evaluation will lower their grades. The impact of the cancellation of the exams on students who want to pursue higher education overseas is also unknown. As a result, it's critical to use a different way of evaluation.

Solid architecture

During a period when in-person contact presents an incredible threat, online exams have arisen as the most reasonable option in contrast to the age-old pen and paper model of assessment. It's an incredible method to ensure that educational delivery doesn't come to a halt due to unforeseen situations. The procedure is cost-effective, saves time and ensures that exams are seamlessly delivered and are error-free.

Remotely proctored online exams are currently viewed as the most viable method of evaluating students and applicants without jeopardising life during the pandemic. Invigilators can assess students authentically via remote proctoring because they can not only monitor candidate movement but also record changes in the browser. Remote proctoring provides more adaptability and ensures data integrity by guaranteeing access to authorised personnel only. It also aids in the automatic evaluation of candidates' responses and eliminates bias. E-assessments are built on a solid architecture that enables safe information authentication, troubleshoots transaction, and storage difficulties from both an educational and technological standpoint, and anticipates any potential security flaws.

Lifesaver technology

Despite innovation and technology being accessible at the tip of our fingers for quite a while, the intense shift from the traditional method to the online method of learning was set off only during the last year. Proctored tests' benefits, such as veracity, adaptability, cost-effectiveness, safety, modularity, and tailored evaluations, are intended to bridge the gap while reducing reliance on physical infrastructure in the future. Remote examinations have emerged as a lifesaver since technology has changed our perspective, provided immense opportunity for change, and online exams will continue to be a strong contender going forward.

Recent research by a group of scholars from India and Australia shows that more than 55 per cent of students had a positive attitude towards online proctored exams. Around 24 per cent of students show a negative attitude due to a network problem. The advent of new-age technologies like AI and wider internet coverage will increase the acceptance of proctored exams among students and other stakeholders.

Online exams are gaining pace and acceptability around the world since it uses dependable and scalable technology to assess examinations and learning in equal measure. It is also a viable and successful choice for administering large-scale exams like NEET and JEE. During the pandemic, the sudden demand for distant assessments necessitated a rapid reaction with little planning. The lessons acquired from this process can be implemented in the future to meet the demand for remote services with more predictability and consistency.

(The writer is CEO of testing and assessment provider MeritTrac services, a UNext company.)