How to conduct secure remote exams

Julie Lykke Storm
April 24, 2020

The rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation is forcing a change in the way educational institutions can teach and assess their learners. Institutions around the world have to adapt the way they work in order to support remote learning and home exams. It could be said that the coronavirus crisis is, in fact, providing the rocket fuel for the digital transformation in education.

A recent survey of about 1,000 undergraduates in the UK shows that 42 per cent of the students expect universities to continue assessments online during the coronavirus crisis. There is much to be gained in these challenging times if students can continue their education despite the lock-down of on-site training. The negative impact on education has so far been massive, with 91% of the world’s student population being affected by the closure of educational institutions.  

The coping strategies that countries have adopted to manage exams during the coronavirus range from cancelling and rescheduling exams to introducing alternative methods, such as online or home-based testing. According to UNESCO, the interruption of exams affects both the individual student and holds a broader socio-economic impact as the students' way to the job market may be delayed.

Why do we need extra security for remote exams?

More than ever, it is important to detect cheating and to protect the integrity of assessments while allowing students to sit secure and reliable digital exams on their own devices and in their own homes. With the right security measures in place, remote exams provide a viable alternative to campus-based or exam centre assessments.

There are three ways* to prevent academic dishonesty in e-assessment:

  1. Educating students
  2. Redesigning courses and assessments
    - Open book exams with time constraints
    - Closed book exams with unique test versions and time constraints
  3. Increased security layers for academic dishonesty to detect and punish offenders

* Source: Carroll, J. (2013). A handbook for deterring plagiarism in higher education (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development.

While all three aspects should be part of the solution to reduce cheating, the implementation of sophisticated technologies is playing an increasing role in helping to detect and deter academic dishonesty.

COVID-19 as a springboard for a more flexible assessment practise?

Despite the grave background, the rapid changes forced by the coronavirus could eventually be a springboard for an even more flexible and accessible assessment practise in the future. But how do you move exams and assessment online quickly and securely? At Inspera, we have been preparing for a “new normal” and 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.

Our Inspera Smarter Proctoring provides increased security for high-stakes assessments and offers a number of new and improved features, which allow a test-taker to sit their exam from a remote location. Security features include:

Inspera Remote Exam features

Inspera Smarter Proctoring is an add-on to the Inspera Exam Portal (for PC and Mac). The security and invigilation tools sit as additional functionality within Inspera’s existing platform. Combining these new security and monitoring capabilities with all of Inspera’s existing e-assessment functionality allow entire universities to centrally manage large-scale exam environments in a closed book home environment.

The location of the test-taker will change, but security and exam integrity are maintained through ID checks, monitoring, recording, and reviews of test sessions where anomalous and suspicious behaviour is automatically detected and flagged.

Want to learn more? 

We are here to help institutions around the world as more exams are moving online. If you would like further information or have any questions, you are welcome to get in touch with our e-assessment specialists. Please fill in our online contact form.

Did you like this post? Sign up and we’ll send you more awesome posts like this once a month