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Tried-and-tested security methods for online assessment

Tried-and-tested security methods for online assessment

Global digitalization has created global ‘educationalization’, allowing every person to reach the information they require. World-famous universities, colleges, and libraries create specialized platforms with courses, where students can acquire new knowledge any time they want, being located in any place in the world. While the educational process itself is well-planned and established, it’s the final assessment that is still being compromised. For the majority of us online exam is like writing a test with an open book, thus the results and, consequently, the certification aren’t trustworthy.

The majority of educational institutions understand that the validity of the student’s results is their reputation, therefore, they are looking for the best-functioning solutions to get fair and square results of the testing. The preferable technology depends on the type of testing and examination. The most common ways of assessment security are full-screen mode, browser locking, automated proctoring services, and kiosk mode.

1.   Full-screen mode

This is a primary level of assessment security and a widely used option for schools, or tests with low importance. With a special combination on the keyboard, the students enter the full-screen mode, being unable to use any other functions on the computer or other web pages. Such a variant is suitable for classes and groups with a small capacity, thus, the person in charge can keep track of everyone involved.

Tech-savvy students may try to bend the rules using Esc mode, however, the administrators may be notified about that.

Such an approach is perfectly feasible if the results aren’t influential, just a part of continuous monitoring. However, as a rule, students tend to blame devices/technology/Internet for not working properly, causing lots of hassle around simple testing, not to mention exams.

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2.   Browser locking

This method is the next and improved level of security. Unlike full-screen mode, users are unable to use any functions of the browser but just work with the one for testing. Another security measure – keyboard combination blocking, therefore, certain helpful combinations and mouse are disabled, minimizing the chances for printing the tasks (and selling the copies afterward), switching between the tasks, copy-pasting, etc.

Browser locking is a more improved variant of assessment security, however, it requires a special browser to be installed, which isn’t always working with all the operational systems or devices. Thus, it will create tedious problems and complaints about the way the institution organizes everything.

3.   Online proctoring software

This is probably not just a shift in exam security development, but a huge leap forward. The proctoring system takes full control over the participant’s device during the exam, making it impossible to get involved in any kind of non-permitted help or actions. The proctoring system takes control over the surrounding of the candidate, listens and watches the candidate, and keeps track of keyboard combinations.

security methods

Online proctoring uses cutting-edge solutions to secure the exam environment, including artificial intelligence.

Such a type of assessment security is the best choice when considering high-stakes exams, as they prevent even the slightest chance of cheating and keep the evidence of the student’s performance and activities throughout the exam, making it the evidence in case of disputable results.

Online proctoring software is used by LMS like Moodle edX, Blackboard, Neo, Canvas, Indigo, and corporations that hold in-house training and exams.

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Online proctoring is also easier in terms of tech requirements, as there’s no need to install third-party applications or create any additional profiles. Everything is trouble-free as long as your systems get integrated with a proctoring service provider (takes up to 10 days typically).

4.   Kiosk Mode

Kiosk software is an enclosing system that locks the whole Windows or Chrome device, therefore, all the applications, shortcuts, combinations, or anything else can’t work. Such an approach may be suitable for high-stakes exams as well, however, it requires a lot of additional preparation, computer system capacity, appropriate settings, and the help of system administrators. While being a reliable way to secure the exams, it also can make the students overwhelmed with all the additional measures taken, causing them to be distressed even more.

Educational institutions are experiencing global changes in the way they organize the process. Their reputability depends on the validity of the qualification they give to the students. Online assessment mode is quite challenging to be controlled, as many students are tech-savvy and code-breakers, which allows them to break the rules.

Among all the available options, the one that is beneficial both ways is the online proctoring service. It provides a high level of non-cheating protection, unlike full-screen mode or safe browser, and is more user-friendly, unlike kiosk mode, as it works like a built-in option. With the online proctoring service the examiners will have credible results with the records of student’s performance; the participants will not have to worry about system settings, new applications, passwords, etc. The exam time will be dedicated to the students’ knowledge alone – just what any institution is looking for.

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