How Online Exam Proctoring and Remote Exams Work

by Dan Tromblay, CLU, ChFC, FLMI, CDEi | Jul 14, 2020
Experts at WebCE explain how online exam proctoring and remote exams work, if they're 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.

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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.

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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.

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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 not yet available in every state, but it will continue to be rolled out on a state-by-state basis throughout the country.

Prometric, PSI, and Pearson VUE all have online testing and remote proctor solutions. To see if online exam proctoring is available for an 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.

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Online Proctoring for Insurance Exam Prep & CE

WebCE has formed a strategic partnership with Prometric to deliver our customers a remote proctoring option for their insurance exam prep and continuing education self-study exams. This unique integration is the first remote proctoring experience for online insurance training courses.

Prometric’s remote assessment platform, ProProctor, provides a secure online proctoring solution using human and AI-assisted proctoring. The service includes the rigors necessary to meet the insurance regulatory requirements with the convenience to take a proctored exam remotely from any location. With the ProProctor remote assessment platform, WebCE students can take their exams safely, reliably, and securely from their own home or office, without the need to have another person physically with them.

“Prometric and WebCE have the same goal to be able to provide customers with innovative solutions for completing their education and testing requirements,” agrees Sean Burke, Chief Client Officer of Prometric. “Integrating our ProProctor solution with WebCE gets us closer to achieving our goals and further paving the way for the insurance industry in offering assessments anywhere.”

As of May 2021, the following states and districts have approved remote proctoring for insurance exam prep courses and/or continuing education (CE) through the ProProctor remote assessment platform:

  • Arizona (CE)
  • Colorado (CE & Exam Prep)
  • Connecticut (CE & Exam Prep
  • District of Columbia (CE)
  • Indiana (CE)
  • Kansas (CE)
  • Massachusetts (CE)
  • Nebraska (CE)
  • Texas (Adjuster EP)
  • Vermont (CE)
  • West Virginia (CE & EP)

If remote proctoring is not yet available in your state, check back regularly. More states are expected to approve remote proctoring throughout the year.

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Prepare for the Insurance Exam With WebCE

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 simulations.

Insurance Exam Prep   Insurance Adjuster Exam Prep