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Five frequently asked questions about remote exams

Julie Lykke Storm
August 11, 2020

The outbreak of COVID-19 has forced a change in the way educational institutions can teach and assess their learners. Inspera Remote Exam provides increased security for your high-stakes assessments and offers a number of new and improved features, that allow a test-taker to sit their exam from a remote location. Below you can find the answers to five frequently asked questions about remote exams.

1. What is Safe Exam Browser (lock down browser)?

Safe Exam Browser (SEB) is a popular open source tool with a long history of preventing student access to non-permitted tools during an online exam. The existing tool makes it possible to lock down the student’s computer to one screen and prevents the students from accessing any programmes or websites that have not been whitelisted by the exam planner.

Inspera Safe Exam Browser builds on the existing success of SEB and provides specific functionality for monitoring Inspera tests. Inspera SEB provides increased security checks and also includes our Remote Exam tools, which allow for the monitoring, flagging and review of Inspera exams.

2. How do you ensure security prior to the exam?

The Inspera Safe Exam Browser and home exam tool is software to be downloaded. To ensure that the Inspera SEB files have not been tampered with, we conduct an integrity inspection using certificate pinning to ensure that the file is as it should be. Any anomalies can be flagged to the relevant administrators, who then will be able to decide on how to proceed with their evaluation of the exam session.

Id checks will require the students to take a live photo of themselves and also to show an approved form of Id. These will be examined, and live facial recognition tracking will flag if a new face enters or leaves throughout the entire exam session.

3. How do you ensure security during the exam?

Inspera SEB runs dynamic blocking of blacklisted processes. This means that even if a student manages to bypass the lockdown browser and access something they are not allowed to during the test, Inspera will log this and flag it to the invigilator for review.

Artificial intelligence (AI) conducts the initial review of the student session and flags incidents of new faces entering the exam session. After the exam, the university staff or a hired external staff will review the incidents that have been elevated. Learn more about the security features here

4. What happens if the student loses internet connection or needs a break?

The proctoring programme will continue to run even if the student is working offline. Online is recommended, but if the students’ devices go offline, they can continue with the knowledge that the recording will continue and upload when the internet connection is re-established.

Exams can be split into sections for students who need breaks during the exam. For unscheduled breaks, Inspera has the functionality to pause the test session or add extra time for accessibility requirements.

5. How do you handle a remote exam in different time zones?

This can be handled in different ways depending on the type of exams. All students can begin at the same time, i.e. potentially at different times in various countries. Time limits can also be added to an exam, allowing a maximum duration (e.g. 2 hours) for the test-taker to sit the exam at any time within the window.

Personalised exam papers can also be automatically created to allow students to sit the exam at different times and prevent them from sharing questions or answers.

Do you want to learn more?

Despite the grave background, the rapid changes forced by the coronavirus could eventually be a springboard for a much more flexible and accessible assessment practise in the future. At Inspera we have been preparing for a “new normal”. We have embraced a remote-first design principle – not only to address the current situation but also to cater for more flexibility in assessments going forward.

You are welcome to contact us if you have any questions.

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