Exploring Remote Proctoring of High Stakes Assessments

Exploring Remote Proctoring of High Stakes Assessments

Exploring Remote Proctoring of High Stakes Assessments

We recently participated in Prometric’s demonstration of their remote proctoring system called ProProctor™.  Remote proctoring has been gaining traction as an acceptable, secure delivery method for a variety of high stakes exams. More recently, remote proctoring has become acceptable for some credentialing examinations that were previously administered at testing centers, which are now closed due to the COVID-19 crisis. Remote proctoring allows examinees to conveniently schedule and take an examination safely from their homes or other off-site locations and avoid the logistical hassles and inconveniences of having to appear at a testing center.

The concern for educators and administrators responsible for high stakes assessments are exam security and exam integrity. Ensuring that the results are fair, accurate and reliable over time is most important. Frankly, cheating is always a concern. Typically, these examinations require test-takers to be at a testing location, such as a computer lab, classroom or other location, where they can be monitored as a group. These involve using controlled access computers to ensure there is no cheating or other activities that may compromise the examination. The technologies and protocols now available with remote proctoring, including ProProctor™, offer a suitable alternative to the traditional computer lab, test center or classroom-delivered assessments.

In our ProProctor™ demo, we watched how much effort and work goes into ensuring the integrity of an examination from a remote setting. The better remote proctoring systems, like ProProctor™, do involve having human proctors who monitor examinations remotely. Human proctors are typically responsible for monitoring six to eight examinees at one time. These systems use a variety of technologies, processes, and protocols to ensure that exam security and integrity is protected. Our impression was that remote proctoring protects the examination process almost as well as it would be at a testing center, and probably better than a classroom or computer lab setting where the ratio of proctors to students is often not favorable.

As we learned from watching a demo of Prometric’s system, a big part of the remote proctoring process involves the initial technology set up, authentication of the exam candidate’s identity, and verification that the candidate’s examination environment strictly adheres to a stringent set of protocols. We are talking about the assessment of a candidate’s computer, capturing a candidate’s facial image for later monitoring, a thorough review of the candidate’s testing location, authentication via a government-issued ID, and including having candidates roll up their sleeves and show their ears to make sure they do not have hidden devices! During the examination, there is constant monitoring, both from human proctors as well as AI-type technologies that examine candidate movement and behavior during the assessment. Our impression was that very few candidates could or would attempt to game the system.  It is that good.

ProProctor™ will be used for early administrations of the Physician Assistant College Admissions Test (PA-CAT) as a safe alternative to testing centers. We believe Prometric’s remote proctoring system offers a robust and safe alternative for PA-CAT candidates. Testing for the PA-CAT begins May 1st.

Helping PA Programs Navigate the COVID-19 Crisis

Helping PA Programs Navigate the COVID-19 Crisis

Helping PA Programs Navigate the COVID-19 Crisis

Physician Assistant programs around the country are being significantly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. We share everyone’s deep concerns about this crisis, and we are very sorrowful for the negative impact this will have on so many people within the PA educational community, including faculty, students and staff.

As an online education company, Exam Master can help programs struggling with making the transition to remote teaching and assessment. We work with over 100 PA programs, many of whom have been asking us questions about how to transition to this new paradigm, and how can Exam Master’s assist them during this crisis. Some of the most common questions many of our clients have been asking us over the last several weeks include: 

  • How do we set up high-stakes online exams and what security options are available?
  • How can we set up remote online proctoring for our online exams?
  • Can Exam Master set up and run our program’s high stakes exams online temporarily?
  • Does a lockdown browser work remotely?
  • How to structure open book tests with summative exams?

ARC-PA and PAEA issued a joint statement providing guidance to PA programs as they meet the challenge of fulfilling their educational mission under these extraordinary COVID-19 circumstances. Exam Master has a collection of online resources that align with the recognized technologies deemed appropriate in the ARC-PA PAEA joint statement for delivery of coursework. Those technologies include e-lectures, streaming, and pre-recordings that can be used to help you transition to remote teaching and assessment during this trying time. This collection of online resources includes: 

  • A Pre-Matriculation Success program that is geared towards incoming and freshmen PA students who may need remediation during the didactic year. The online self-study program covers subjects identified by educators as needing effective remediation, such as Anatomy and Physiology.
  • Subject-based, formative quizzes for students to take during their didactic phase on subjects such as anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and biochemistry. Each quiz includes detailed explanations and references for student review.
  • A 38-hour systems-based review developed by Emory University that integrates didactic and clinical content and includes supplemental materials as well as a summative assessment. The systems-based review is generally geared towards students in the second semester of their didactic; however, the resource can also help support clinical training in a way that is complementary and may fill some gaps.

Our mission during this time is to help make programs aware of those Exam Master resources that are best-suited to helping them as they transition to remote teaching and learning during this particularly challenging time. One area that clients have been particularly interested in is exploring how remote proctoring might help them more securely deliver higher-stakes exams to students at home or off campus. We are looking to learn more about how programs are coping across the country. We are here to help PA programs needing assistance in a number of ways and encourage folks to reach out to us for a conversation.