By Guest Blogger: Louella Morton, Executive Director / TestReach
Why smart membership organisations are moving to assessment via remote invigilation
Remote invigilation, if properly executed, enables an organisation’s members to sit a certification exam anywhere in the world, at any time and in any time zone. This is a game changer.
Here’s an example to contemplate. Over the past 18 months the Institute of Directors has moved all certification exams globally from a paper-based delivery model in test centres, to being run via remote invigilation. When one of its candidates was running behind schedule, he pulled his car over to the side of the road, set up a hotspot on his phone, and with the Institute’s permission, was able to sit his exam from his car. Although unusual, this illustrates how far technology has come and how much the world of formal assessment is changing.
Let’s think about the impact of remote invigilation for members sitting exams. It’s no longer necessary to travel to a test centre. No need to rearrange schedules to allow travel time to get there for the start of the exam. No need to wait months after a training course to sit the associated exam. It is a seismic shift away from the rigidity of paper and test centres, to a process that is extremely flexible, can accommodate the busy professional candidate, but at the same time maintain the exam integrity and the high standards that are an absolute requirement for formal assessment.
And what is the impact for the examining body? Massively simplified logistics as there’s no need to book test centres in remote locations or find trustworthy local invigilators. Organisations can quickly scale their qualifications around the globe as there are no geographical or logistical barriers. Exams can be offered at regular intervals and closer to the period of tuition – reducing the pressure of a ‘big bang’ approach, where large volumes of tests are run once or twice a year. Results can be issued in a much shorter timeframe, as you don’t have to wait on paper-based scripts to do the rounds with markers.
The importance of vendor selection cannot be underestimated, particularly when new offerings are appearing on a regular basis. It is critical to deploy a proven solution that is robust and meets the needs of professional candidates. It’s one thing to deliver remote invigilation to students in a university, who may be allowed to download Flash or who may have to put up with an application that is mediocre. However, for professional candidates, behind secure corporate firewalls with tightly controlled work computers and high standards, this is not an option or they will look for alternatives. Your solution must deliver and it must deliver well. And if there’s one take away from this post, please remember the old adage, “If in doubt, try it out”.
As with any new ideas, there will be sceptics who might question whether it is easier for candidates to cheat in an online environment. However, professional solutions available today use increasingly sophisticated technologies, which allow monitoring of the candidates more closely than would be possible in an exam hall. This includes high-definition continuous video feeds where the slightest eye movement is detectable, full recordings that can be reviewed after the event and a much lower ratio of candidates to supervisors. Many of the regulatory bodies such as the SQA and Ofqual are now giving their approval to qualifications where exams are delivered via remote invigilation.
The winds of change are definitely blowing in the formal assessment world, and as the old Chinese proverb says, it’s up to you whether you build a wall or a windmill.
TestReach is a complete online assessment solution that can deliver any type of exam online, anywhere in the world, at any time, with complete security and integrity.