Solidifying the Integrity of Online Exams Through Remote Proctoring

APR 2022, Dennis Whitney, CMA
Senior Vice President, Certifications, Exams, & Content Integration at IMA (Institute of Management Accountants)

The COVID pandemic compelled an abrupt transition of conventional in-person learning to an online format of teaching. While many traditional learning methods, including lecturing, transitioned relatively quickly and effectively, other aspects such as assessments and exams were faced with imposing challenges. The transition from an in-person exam to an online format requires the establishment of reliable and secure administrative methods for objective evaluations.

Remote proctoring is one such technological breakthrough that allows institutions to assess and examine applicants by proctoring online exams from any location. Remote proctoring technology has evolved to become an effective and secure exam administration method, maintaining the integrity of the examination, while allowing candidates to take tests from home – a major need in countries that do not have access to testing centers. This technique often consists of an exam administered by experienced human proctors and/or an AI algorithm, backed by rigorous criteria and guidelines to assure exam reliability and integrity. This way, candidates anywhere in the world can take exams, with much-needed convenience and flexibility. 

There have been significant developments in how proctoring technologies are facilitating smoother and disruption-free testing experience, from the scope of such testing to the technologies deployed. The introduction of AI has made it possible for educators to closely monitor candidate actions and easily conduct exams. Remote proctoring has improved the overall efficiency of the test and proctoring process by removing logistical obstacles, expediting the overall proctoring and evaluation processes, and ensuring and maintaining high standards of academic integrity.

Various online courses and certifications by prominent institutions are available across multiple online learning platforms. Such courses have resulted in high applicant engagement, allowing them to gain knowledge and upskill without having to worry about commuting to test centers. However, when certification tests are online, institutes can provide remote proctoring to ensure a comprehensive procedure that prevents students from resorting to unfair or unethical means. To ensure this, professional proctors are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to help proctor exams across time zones. Remotely proctored exams offer a safe option to all, from verifying candidate identities and preserving the quality and rigor of a physical, center-based exam. For corporates, remote proctoring ensures that on-the-job training certifications or other professional certificates for upskilling or reskilling are credible. It provides an unbiased testing environment with maximum flexibility and security.

More and more organizations and institutions are opting for remote proctoring of online exams and the certification process due to its technologically advanced, AI-enabled, and robust security features. Zayed University, a public institution in Dubai, is implementing remote proctoring which allows teachers to analyze the video recorded by the students’ camera to prevent cheating during online exams, with the aim of maintaining academic integrity. Similarly, New York University, Abu Dhabi, monitors the tests by using artificial intelligence software on a live feed that analyzes any unfamiliar behavior and detects the attempt at cheating. 

In the wake of ongoing challenges of the pandemic and the recent advances in remote testing, IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants), the global association of accountants and financial professionals in business, recently announced that its CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) and CSCA® (Certified in Strategy and Competitive Analysis) English language exams will now be available globally across all regions where IMA conducts business via remote proctoring. IMA is allowing candidates to take their exams remotely from home 24/7 without having to go to a Prometric test center.

While the disruption caused by COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the upskilling and reskilling plans of candidates, the remote proctoring option has provided an excellent option that will help facilitate a candidate’s goals of becoming certified. With its location-agnostic features, remote proctoring is helping institutions conduct exceptionally secure online examinations with high integrity and flexibility, and without compromising the safety and well-being of candidates, regardless of location. Seeing its success and uptake, even the most ardent advocates of traditional ways of taking exams would now find it difficult to question the advantages of remote proctoring technology, which are transforming the way to teach and assess competencies.