How Online Exam Proctoring and Remote Exams Work

by Dan Tromblay, CLU, ChFC, FLMI, CDEi | Jul 14, 2020
How online exam proctoring and remote exams work, are they safe, and who needs them

Online testing and remote exam proctoring has been an emerging service over the last decade as a viable alternative to in-person proctoring at a physical testing center. Since the COVID-19 pandemic required classrooms and testing centers around the country to shut their doors, online exam proctoring has become more important than ever. Now, even with some testing centers reopening, the limited capacity and backlog of requests may make it difficult to obtain a testing appointment for months.

If you’re considering online exam proctoring, you may have a few questions about online proctored exams, remote testing, and how it works. As your trusted source, WebCE is here to help.

What Is Online Exam Proctoring?

What is online exam proctoring? Online proctored exams are online tests (timed or untimed) that you take while a remote proctor and/or proctoring software observes you and your computer using your desktop, webcam video, and audio. Like traditional proctoring, online proctoring involves a proctor who observes the test-taker in order to confirm their identity, answer any questions they may have, and to prevent, identify, and/or report cheating and malpractice. Using secure technology, online proctoring is a viable alternative to on-site testing.

For several years, online proctoring has been used effectively by many schools and universities. Research has shown no difference between how candidates rate their experiences with on-site vs. online proctoring, and there is no statistical difference in test results. Studies have also confirmed when online tests are proctored, test-takers are much less likely to cheat.

How Does Online Exam Proctoring Work?

How does online exam proctoring work? Just like with an in-person proctor, a remote proctor supervises the testing process and watches for any irregularities that might indicate cheating. There are three main ways online proctoring is performed:

  • Live online proctoring, which involves a proctor who watches a candidate in real-time through a camera during the test and who may ask to initially observe the test-taker’s surroundings as well. Almost all online proctors will require the screen to be shared during the exam as well.
  • Record-and-review proctoring, which is when a test-taker and their screen is recorded while taking the exam and the video is later reviewed by proctors for any anomalies.
  • Automated proctoring, which utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to monitor the video and audio feed and screen-share for any irregularities. This is similar to record-and-review proctoring, although in this case a human proctor may only review the feed if the AI flags it as suspicious.

As technology improves, automation and AI will likely play larger and larger roles in remote proctoring services. AI has the potential to use facial and voice recognition to confirm the test-taker’s identity, identify suspicious objects or behavior in the video feed, identify audio that may be used to cheat, and even use eye movement detection to indicate the reading or use of unauthorized material.

Are Online Proctored Exams Safe and Secure?

Remote exam proctoring requires the test-taker to give the exam proctor a significant amount of access to their computer, so it is understandable their can be concerns over the security of their device and protection of passwords and personal data.

While reputable testing companies are not looking through your data or files, it doesn’t completely negate the possibility that a rogue proctor could violate the test-takers’ privacy. It’s for this reason test-takers should always use trustworthy testing companies. These companies give their proctors extensive training and proctors then work observing an experienced proctor before being supervised proctoring themselves.

The use of artificial intelligence in the exam proctoring experience is also helping to mitigate privacy concerns. In these cases, human proctors may only review the test-taker if the AI flags something during the test, and then the proctor will likely review a recording of the test-taker later when they don’t have access to the test-takers’ device.

Who Needs Online Exam Proctoring?

Remote exam proctoring has never been more useful. COVID-19 required most testing centers in the United States to close during the spring of 2020, leaving many testing companies scrambling to offer alternative testing solutions to meet professionals’ needs.

For insurance license exam prep students, online exam proctoring should turn out to be especially helpful. Even though testing centers in many states are reopening, test-takers have struggled to schedule a testing date, and it will likely be months, if not longer, before in-person tests are readily available again.

Remote online exam proctoring should help exam prep students receive their insurance license more quickly. Remote online proctoring for the insurance license exam is currently only available in a few states (it is currently available in Washington and Nebraska), but it will continue to be rolled out on a state-by-state basis throughout the year.

Prometric, PSI, and Pearson VUE all have online testing and remote proctor solutions. To see if online exam proctoring is available for the insurance license exam in your state, you can visit the Prometric, PSI, and Pearson VUE websites. If remote testing is not yet available in your state, check back regularly. With the backlog of in-person tests and continual worries about the pandemic, more states are expected to adopt remote testing in the future.

If you want to take the insurance license exam but haven’t yet taken an exam prep course, WebCE offers online life & health insurance exam study courses, property and casualty pre-license training courses, personal lines insurance study courses and adjuster licensing courses, all with our with live world-class customer support. Our audio-enabled exam prep courses allow students to listen along to the lesson’s text on-the-go or at their desk. Our interactive content covers key exam topics and tests the student’s comprehension of the material with customizable practice quizzes and complete state exam 

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