Navigating Hurdles: Overcoming Challenges in Online Exam Software

14, May 2024

Pen-and-paper or traditional examinations are no longer the only way to conduct assessments, thanks to online assessments. The increasing demand for e-learning, or hybrid learning, led to the incorporation of digitalized exams.

An online exam is an excellent medium through which teachers can improve teaching practices and learning outcomes. However, although online exams are easy to facilitate, it is challenging to maintain their integrity and scalability without robust online exam software.

Besides, many issues occur during online exams that are worth looking into and determining how the software helps to overcome them.

Online Examination Software

1. Cheating

Sitting in the comfort of their homes and taking tests gives students the freedom to indulge in unfair practices to find answers. Unlike the traditional exams, there are no institute-appointed invigilators, encouraging students to use sneaky ways to cheat.

That is where advanced online examination software can be the ultimate solution by providing various proctoring features. The software comes with movement sensors and monitors student activity throughout the exam. In fact, some of the primary proctoring features are as follows:

  • Live Proctoring: The software syncs with the test taker’s webcam and tracks the live feed of the student.
  • Video Proctoring: It captures the video of the students taking tests that the proctors or invigilators can check and evaluate.
  • Image Proctoring: It takes screenshots of examinees throughout the examination.
  • Sound Proctoring: The software records the sound of the immediate surroundings of the student.
  • AI-based Proctoring: It is an advanced proctoring mechanism that monitors a test taker’s environment and movements in real-time.

Furthermore, AI-based proctoring features serve to detect suspicious movements and send auto-alert messages. It automatically cancels the exam after sending three warning notifications.

2. Security Concerns

Data theft, cyber-attacks, malware, and hacking activities are prevalent issues in today’s highly digitalized institutions. Technological tools provide appropriate solutions to automate time-consuming tasks, but they must address inherent security issues.

Furthermore, data security is necessary in the context of educational institutes, especially due to the vast number of students and other important data. Besides, there have been instances of unwarranted institutional data access and hacking into the institute system.

Fortunately, the online exam software provides high security, helping to protect all data through encryption methodology. Admins and teachers can store the documents on a cloud-based platform, which prevents data loss.

Therefore, whether it is questionnaires, study materials, student data, etc., they can store them safely through a multi-layered encryption method. Also, a role-based entry and verification process prevents any unauthorised access to documents.

How Online Exam Software Improves Test Security and Prevents Cheating?

3. Inability to Facilitate Mock Tests

Mock tests are specialised examinations that have been designed to enable test-takers to become familiar with online exams. Institutes must conduct mock tests a few days prior to the actual examinations.

Institutes encounter a problem when the online exam software does not have the necessary features to conduct mock tests. As a result, institutes get little or no time at all to familiarise themselves with the system. They end up having difficulty navigating the software and the dos and don'ts of the online tests.

In contrast, when the online exam software has built-in features to conduct mock tests, students get an idea of the question types. Additionally, they undergo microphone and webcam tests and get accustomed to the rules and regulations.

4. No Real-Time Support

What if a student encounters an issue during an ongoing test and is unable to contact the admin? Lack of response in light of technical issues is a major problem that ordinary exam software might not resolve.

In fact, the screen freezing in the middle of an exam or the inability to log into the exam website are common issues. That is where an advanced online exam system can make a difference by providing real-time support.

Institutes can avail of the helpline number with the online examination system and the email ticketing system. Also, the system provides an admin panel, allowing the exam administrator to make necessary changes during the exam.

Moreover, institutes must have a technically sound staff who will respond to calls or emails and solve issues concurrently.

5. Inability to Check Exam Status

How many students are taking the test? Which exam candidates have completed the exam? If the online exam software is unable to answer these questions, the administrator or invigilator may have difficulty keeping track of the candidates.

Nevertheless, most modern exam software comes with features that help determine whether the exam is in progress or has ended. Furthermore, the invigilator or admin can check if any candidate has paused any examination. Therefore, they can connect with that particular individual and inquire about their issue.

Also, the software/exam platform provides updates and real-time information about the exam, such as:

  • Number of online and active exam candidates
  • Number of students who have started their exams or are yet to start their tests
  • Names and number of candidates

In addition, the admin or the remote invigilator can send messages or email alerts to candidates who have not started their tests.

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6. Unsatisfactory user experience

Expecting all staff and faculty to operate new systems and software effortlessly is illogical, especially when some may not be tech-savvy. In fact, some sections of the software need further demonstration and understanding.

Therefore, examiners and administrators must be confident and well aware of the method of conducting the online test. In fact, to avoid an unsatisfactory user experience, they need to conduct the mock test.

For instance, they can choose and assign various questions, including MCQs, quizzes, and descriptive and qualitative questions. Also, they can choose the level of the exam by adjusting it accordingly, from easy to difficult.

7. Inadequate staff training

Unsatisfactory user experiences are the ultimate outcome of inadequate staff training that many institutes have faced. Providing initial training and then assuming that all team members have more or less understood is not ideal.

Many individuals might not have the technical knowledge and user adaptability to use technological tools. Therefore, it is imperative for institutes to ensure that the vendor provides staff training services.

High-quality and smooth training is crucial for staff to gain a clear understanding of how the software works. Consequently, they will be able to navigate the system easily without getting confused or intimidated.

8. Connectivity Issues

What if some students fail to connect to the exam website on the stipulated date? The question is valid and worth noting, especially when students face connectivity issues in certain areas.

There are two feasible solutions to the problem: first, students can choose a location in the house where the connectivity is strong.

Secondly, institutes can adopt exam software that can facilitate service even with low internet bandwidth.

Bottom Line,

Online examination software has become the need of the hour in today’s scenario, wherein online assessments are an important part of the education system. However, exam administrators and invigilators face technical issues and an unsatisfactory user experience.

That is why advanced online exam software that addresses common user difficulties and ensures smooth assessments is the ideal choice. Moreover, it establishes an authentic and cheat-free examination environment.

Posted By -
Gurudev Somani

Gurudev Somani,
Academic Consultant