How Online Exam Software Improves Test Security and Prevents Cheating?

25 , April 2023

Examinations have always played a crucial role in evaluating student performance; therefore, institutes focus on conducting well-planned assessments. But the traditional examination system requires the administrative staff, teachers and examiners to streamline several important processes. For instance, preparing the question papers, scheduling the exam dates and sending notifications to the students.

However, online examinations help to automate the entire pre-assessment process, enabling the institute team members to save time and physical resources. But one of the major issues that continue to affect the authenticity of online tests is cheating; students may take advantage of the absence of human invigilators in the remote setting. That is where the online exam software comes into effect; the AI-enabled proctoring features help maintain the exam’s academic integrity.

Therefore, let us take a look at how online exam software improves test security and prevents cheating:

Test Security and Prevents Cheating

1. Secure Browser

One of the first things that come to mind when regarding online exams is the freedom that the students have, which they can misuse by indulging in unethical practices. Furthermore, be it online or conventional in-person tests; students aim to get good grades or score satisfactory marks. Also, the pressure of performing well constantly reminds them that they must do all it takes to pass the test.

Unfortunately, the lack of sufficient preparation or merely weeks of studying before the commencement of tests proves to be detrimental for students. Hence, choosing alternative methods like cheating becomes a circumstantial solution for them. And one of the most common ways is to check the browser during the ongoing exam to find answers to unfamiliar or tough questions.

That is why secure browser technology, a vital part of online exam software, prevents exam candidates from opening additional windows. It allows them to access the examination window solely and disables keyboard shortcuts to copy, paste, and screen capture. So, when the candidate tries to open any other window, the mechanism sends an alert asking the candidate to return to the exam site. Following three such alerts, the exam gets terminated automatically.

2. Remote Proctoring

Online exams are advantageous not just for institutes but also the students, who are able to take tests from the comfort of their homes. Plus, it is especially beneficial for those who are not able to travel long distances, thereby curtailing geographical boundaries. Although it is an optimal solution, it is also a concerning issue for institutes, as they cannot guarantee the authenticity of the exam.

Besides, unlike the traditional exam halls, online tests do not have an institute-appointed invigilator who watches students throughout the examination. Hence, proctoring software is a significant tool that helps to monitor student activity through recorded clips, live-streaming examinations, etc.

In addition, online proctoring in exams occurs in three primary methods, which are as follows:

  • Live Online Proctoring
  • In this proctoring system, an invigilator proctors the examination from a remote location in real-time through a webcam, mic, and access to the device’s screen.

  • Recorded Proctoring
  • Instead of real-time proctoring, the system records the audio-video feed of the test-taking candidate throughout the exam. Then, the proctor or examiner goes through the feed of the recorded exam and flags instances of malpractice.

  • Automated Advanced Proctoring
  • It is an advanced proctoring feature that requires minimum or no manpower; artificial intelligence (AI) provides a secure and reliable mechanism to monitor and review students’ exams. Besides, the system is programmed in a specific way to monitor the candidate, detect malpractices and flag them.

3. Candidate Authentication

Institutes have often faced candidate impersonation problems wherein students take proxy tests; registered students who are scheduled to sit for the exam avoid it and ask a friend or an acquaintance to do it instead. Hence, candidate authentication is one of the primary steps of theonline assessment; there are several measures, such as :

  • The candidates are required to log into the system using valid credentials.
  • After the successful login, they need to enter a valid identity card number in the system.
  • The system runs a check with the identity card details uploaded during the registration and executes the verification process.
  • Finally, when the system verifies the ID card details, the candidate must show their card to the remote proctor for the final verification. If the ID is invalid, the remote proctor may reject it, and the candidate must show their ID details once again.

4. Data Encryption

Leaking of exam question papers just a few weeks before the exam is a prevalent issue that continues to occur and poses a threat to school and college assessments. Thankfully, institutes can easily curtail the issue through the data encryption mechanism. Besides, when they store exam question banks and exam data in a highly secure and encrypted manner, it prevents misuse.

In addition, it is an immensely useful feature that ensures access to people with valid credentials and disallows unauthorized access. Furthermore, the encryption technology protects the communication between the server and the exam client via a secure mode of communication. Finally, high-level encryption algorithms encode the data, making it challenging for hackers to decode it.

5. Strategic Exam Measure

The purpose and the way examinations are conducted will undergo a major transformation; thanks to NEP 2020, assessments have a more significant role to play in a student’s academic curriculum. It will not just cater to determining students' subject knowledge and understanding but also assess their progress and skill level.

Exams will not occur twice or thrice a year; instead, teachers will treat every classroom session as a student evaluation mechanism. Hence, paper-based tests will not be the only method to facilitate exams; a combination of online and offline assessments will be customary. For instance, teachers may give a reading assignment, and the next day they can conduct a discussion or debate based.

Similarly, teachers can create personalized or adaptive testing for online tests catering to individual students' abilities and knowledge. But creating such tests requires appropriate tools like the ERP campus that helps teachers create quizzes, surveys and multiple other kinds of assessment questions.

Summing Up,

Using unfair means like cheating, including searching other websites for correct answers, is a recurrent issue that institutes can avoid through online exam proctoring technology. The proctoring mechanism aids in maintaining the integrity of the exam through its remote proctoring features.

Posted By:
Mustak Ahmed

Mustak Ahmed,
Academic Consultant