How Employers Use Online Proctoring to Streamline Assessment

For any employer, the people who work in the company are the most precious resource. A lot of money may be spent on state-of-the-art machinery and infrastructure, but businesses that invest into the education of their employees will always come out on top. In this same vein, the work that HR specialists do during candidate screening is extremely important for the growth and prosperity of the company. 

The rising popularity of online proctoring services

The assessment of candidates and certification of employees are time-consuming tasks that until recently haven’t been scaled easily. In companies with hundreds or even thousands of employees, and just as many job applicants, organizing a high-stakes exam is a costly undertaking. Variables include the right location, the right examination tools and materials, and of course, reliable proctoring. Cheaters get more sophisticated every year, and businesses need to be proactive to protect exam integrity.

The novel coronavirus pandemic and the measures implemented to contain it created a new set of issues that affect professional certification and assessment. In many regions, it’s considered unsafe to organize events in public spaces, and special permissions might be required depending on the number of attendees. 

All of the factors mentioned above have worked in favor of moving professional exams online, and replacing traditional proctoring with online proctoring services. We’ve seen multiple examples of major companies following this approach: 

  • PeopleCert, a global leader in professional skills assessment and certification, now accommodates candidates willing to take their certification exams remotely via PeopleCert Online Proctored Examinations;
  • Candidates can take any Microsoft Certification role-based or fundamentals exam from their own home or office through the Pearson VUE platform;
  • The Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM’s) introduced a live remote-proctoring option that permits candidates to take the certification exam remotely;
  • Google offers multiple types of Cloud Certification exams based on Kryterion’s Webassessor delivery platform and using its online proctoring service.

What modalities of online proctoring are there?

Organizers of candidate assessment tests or certification exams have a range of options to choose from when it comes to online proctoring services. They differ in price and effectiveness, as well as degree of involvement expected from the user.

In-person online proctoring

The only difference from regular, brick-and-mortar exam experience here is that the proctor is using a live video feed to watch the examinee. Before sitting for the exam, the person typically has to do a 360-degree sweep of their room with a camera, turn out their pockets and sleeves, and even show their ears to prove they’re not hiding anything. Their desktop is locked as soon as the exam starts so they can’t access other web pages. 

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This type of remote proctoring is rather invasive for the examinee and expensive for the organizer, who has to either hire a big number of proctors at the same time or accept that some cheating might fly under the radar where one proctor has to monitor a large group.

Automated online proctoring

This modality leverages AI-based technologies such as behavioral biometrics, face recognition, emotion recognition, and object recognition to monitor the test-taker without explicit human involvement. Any suspicious signs, such as changes in the typing pattern, looking off screen, changes in sound and light levels in the room lead to the stream being flagged. Typically, the exam session is recorded, meaning that the test can be taken anywhere, at any time, and disputed incidents will be reviewed later by the organizers.

Hybrid real-time proctoring

Unified, the modalities mentioned above create the hybrid model of exam monitoring where a human proctor keeps an eye on a group of remote test-takers and the AI-driven online proctoring solution is used to monitor them individually. Described as “high-precision”, the hybrid approach allows businesses to reach the highest possible integrity in remote assessment and certification.

What are the benefits of online proctoring?

Let’s round up the benefits that employers and certification organizations can get after switching from conducting regular on-site exams to remote proctoring. 

  • Cost reduction — by cutting travel and physical infrastructure costs as well as minimizing human involvement.
  • Improved user experience — students appreciate the convenience of taking an exam from their homes, which is especially important during the worldwide lockdown, for parents with little kids, or for disabled examinees.
  • Scalability — companies are able to assess more job applicants and certify more employees with the same level of quality.
  • Higher integrity — AI-enhanced proctoring solutions discourage examinees from cheating and any arguments can be quickly resolved by rewinding the recording of the session.

Last thoughts

Made especially popular during a global health emergency, online proctoring proved to be an excellent helper for HR and corporate education specialists. A variety of available modalities and relative simplicity of usage allows employers to maintain a consistent quality of certification and training even during a crisis and across distances.

Anzhela Sychyk

Anzhela is a seasoned business journalist with a keen eye for spotting industry trends and a knack for explaining complex financial concepts in a clear and accessible way. With over 15 years of experience covering the world of finance and economics, Anzhela has established herself as a respected authority on all things business.