The widescale and rapid adoption of online proctoring in response to Covid-19 has given us a huge amount of data to work with. This data provides invaluable insights into the most common issues we see test takers report during their online proctoring experience.
The majority of issues reported are often outside of the control of either organization (test sponsor and test provider). For example, a test taker’s internet connection or device experiences an issue. However, our work with clients has shown us when these issues are anticipated, most can be prevented with improved communication.
Let’s take a look at our four top tips to guarantee you deliver a great experience for your test takers when it comes to online proctoring.
1. Ensure your test takers run a System Compatibility Check
Unstable internet connectivity and lack of bandwidth are the most common issues that prevent test takers from joining or completing a secure online testing session. Many of us have worked from home for much of the past year, and we all know that internet issues can’t be completely avoided but running a System Compatibility Check before a test will ensure the bandwidth available is sufficient to support online proctoring.
PSI’s System Compatibility Check tool also ensures that a device meets the technical requirements for taking a proctored test. For example, whether the operating system and browser in use will support online proctoring, and the camera and microphone are functional and available for testing.
By linking to our System Compatibility Check tool from your website and emailing your test takers about the importance of running a system check before test day, you can prevent issues and ensure a smooth testing experience and reduce complications. The System Compatibility Check can be performed multiple times – we recommend doing this on test day, using the device and internet connection that will be used for the exam.
2. Communicate clearly and frequently about the ID required to access a test
To ensure the test taker is who they say they are, an online proctor will verify their photo ID as part of the secure check-in process. This will usually need to be a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport, and the name the test taker uses to register for the exam must exactly match the form of identification.
Providing clear guidance about the exact type of ID required and identity verification process, both on your website and in multiple emails to test takers before test day, will ensure they come prepared with the ID documents they need. This will help make the secure check-in process smooth and speedy, with no additional or unnecessary stress. For example, one of the main causes of delay in the ID process is when someone has registered using a different variant of their name (nickname or the like) and it doesn’t match what is on their ID, the candidate will have the best experience when using the exact name used on the form of ID they plan to use.
3. Prepare for the experience
Many of us are wary of new things. It keeps us safe and is part of being human. But it’s not helpful in situations that are already highly stressful, such as an important online exam. The good news is that there are ways to help your test takers prepare for their online proctoring experience and feel more comfortable within the secure remote testing environment.
Video is an accessible communication tool that many people prefer to the written word. The team at PSI has developed a comprehensive Candidate Experience Video which takes test takers through the online proctoring experience, one step at a time. The video can be viewed at any time – and on multiple occasions if required –before test day.
Access the Online Proctoring Experience video here.
Many testing organizations also opt to provide access to practice tests. This is a good approach to prevent potential problems on test day, particularly during the check-in process or in the event of any security checks during a test. At the same time, practice tests have been shown to significantly reduce test taker anxiety.
4. Be clear about your specific scheduling rules and guidelines
Flexible scheduling and rescheduling at a time and location that works for test takers makes online proctoring a convenient option. However, different testing organizations will have different rules when it comes to rescheduling tests, so make sure your test takers are aware of your specific guidelines. For example, test takers can reschedule up to 24 hours in advance.
If your scheduling rules and guidelines are clear and easy to find on your website, and you share them with test takers via email well in advance of test day, it will reduce the number of no shows and cancellations. Furthermore, if your scheduling webpage is accessible and simple to use, your test takers will be able to easily reschedule if they need to.
Experience and data
When test takers are unable to access or complete a secure online test, our data reflects that. More often than not, there are only a small number of reasons for this. Most commonly, errors will occur during the check-in process or due to lack of connectivity during the test. In addition, online proctoring is completely new to many people, and we all make understandable, inadvertent mistakes when we are unfamiliar with technology – for example prematurely closing an online testing window.
At the same time, our extensive experience supporting clients with the rapid adoption of online proctoring tells us that if you understand the kind of issues that might arise, you will be better placed to develop a strategy and plan to prevent them. These four top tips are a great place to start to prevent the most common issues that occur and ensure that you deliver a great test taker experience, every time.
For more information and advice about how to prepare your test takers for online proctoring, download our guide.