Does anyone else have a recurring nightmare where they are lost and can’t find the location of an important test or exam? In years gone by, aside from the study and revision required to pass a test, the only preparation needed was to know the test center address and turn up on time with a spare pen. While the launch of secure remote testing offers convenience and flexibility, there is some information that testers need to know prior to test day.
Testing organizations, providers, and test takers all have a shared responsibility when it comes to delivering a smooth remote testing experience: clear communication. You must provide test takers with the most accurate test day preview possible. Knowing what is expected of them on test day will help to eliminate a lot of potential issues while reducing unnecessary stress. Your team will benefit as well by having fewer questions, emails, and calls to resolve.
In my previous blog, I addressed how to improve communication with your candidates up to test day. That blog focused on system checks, environment needs, and identification.
In this blog I’ll discuss the actual test day experience.
What to expect
Proxy test taking isn’t new and certainly not isolated to online and remote testing. It’s always been important to check whether the test taker is who they claim to be. By communicating the steps involved to confirm identity during test check-in, you will ensure the process goes smoothly and test takers have the relevant documentation at hand.
Once a test taker has initially logged in, the next steps of the check-in process can feel daunting, particularly if they are new to online proctoring. Address this by letting test takers know there will be just three straightforward steps to follow before they can access their test:
- Take a photo of your government issued photo ID.
- Scan the room using your webcam.
- Take a selfie to verify that your name and photo match your ID.
After that it’s just a case of waiting for up to 15 minutes while an online proctor validates the check-in information. The test will then start and it’s time for a test taker to show what they know!
For educators and staff who may not have taken a remote test with online proctoring themselves, it can be helpful to watch our test taker experience video.
The recent rapid adoption of remote testing with online proctoring has brought understandable concerns to the forefront about data security and privacy. In our experience it’s important to acknowledge and address these – again, to avoid issues on test day and reduce test taker anxiety.
Reassure test takers that remote access to their device is not required when they download the secure PSI browser. And let them know that the secure browser is easy to delete once a test is complete. What’s more, we know that many people find it unnerving to be observed while they take a test. Be clear that this is happening so that their test is delivered on a level playing field to protect the integrity of the qualification (much like the test center experience).
The impact of online proctoring during a test is minimal. A proctor will not contact a test taker unless there is a problem. Equally, if a test taker has an issue, they can contact their online proctor via the chat function. Organizations can also reassure test takers that test recordings will only be stored for a limited time and will be deleted once reviewed.
There are a couple of situations where we see problems on test day that could be prevented with improved communication in advance. For example, delays can occur if the name on a test taker’s government issued ID doesn’t match the name in your testing system.
Equally, one of the important details that test takers need to know is how long before and how long after their test start time they will be allowed to login. This detail is specific to your organization and should be shared on your website and through emails to test takers. Being clear about timings will avoid no shows and additional inquiries on test day.
Organizations may wish to share further information in advance that is specific to them, to avoid problems during testing. For example, are bathroom breaks and eating and drinking allowed during a test? Or what, if any, resources are allowed such as books or calculators?
Test like a dream
Students want more flexible learning opportunities, with 36% saying that flexible course options are a deciding factor in where they schedule. And an important part of delivering online, flexible learning is a more flexible approach to assessments. At the same time, 42% of students said they would like more personalized communications from their institution and 39% want extra emails, reminders, and alerts.
Whatever the situation, when we are better informed and know what to expect, our comfort and confidence levels rise. Remote testing with online proctoring is no different. That is why it is critical to provide test takers with the most accurate test day preview in advance. Invest time and effort in communications and your test takers will come fully prepared. Avoiding unnecessary surprises for test takers and your team alike to ensure your remote tests run like a dream.