CAN IT SCALE IN A PANDEMIC? — PART 3 OF ONLINE PROCTORING IN A PANDEMIC

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This is the final installment of a three-part series on how we’ve dealt with the repercussions of COVID-19 and how we’re dealing with them now.

We covered how business constraints impacted our team and how growing demand revealed chances to improve platform performance, review efficiency, user onboarding, and test-taker experience in the previous sections.

BRIDGE THE TECHNOLOGICAL READINESS GAP

We’ll detail how we increased program and test-taker preparation for remote proctoring in this final piece. We dealt with the following scenarios on a regular basis:

  • Programs without a Learning Management System (LMS) or a test driver (many of these programs still used paper/pencil assessments)
  • Programs that use a learning management system (LMS) or a test driver that isn’t yet connected with our online proctoring system
  • Computers used by test takers that did not fulfill our technological criteria

We needed to work closely with our testing partners to determine the best solutions for their programs and test-takers in order to solve each of these specific difficulties.

Exam Delivery Platforms for Programs with No Existing Exam Delivery Platforms

Many testing programs faced a major dilemma when test centers, colleges, and organizations around the world were forced to close their physical doors: they didn’t have computer-based tests or weren’t equipped to give them remotely.

Hundreds of thousands of students and professionals would be stranded if they couldn’t find a means to administer tests online. Students would be unable to take undergraduate or graduate college admissions exams, graduates would be unable to take certification or license exams required to practice their trade, and professionals would be unable to take optional or obligatory credentialing exams to advance in their careers.

We can use our Australian partners as an example to better comprehend the scenario we were in. Australia has the world’s third-largest number of overseas students, after only the United Kingdom and the United States. Many students were unable to return to campus during the break between semesters due to travel limits enforced at the onset of the pandemic. Universities required our assistance in making the transition from paper-based testing (PBT) to computer-based testing (CBT) so that students may continue with their semester. We delivered roughly 12,000 computer-based tests to students enrolled in Australian institutions in January 2020. We had administered over 367,000 in less than a year, an almost 3,000 percent rise.

Unintegrated Exam Systems by Test Providers

Chart Showing Unintegrated Exam Growth

The Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standard is followed by our online proctoring system, which is completely linked with top LMSs like as Canvas, Blackboard, and Moodle. As a result, we may use our application programming interface to link with other systems and exam delivery platforms (API). The only issue? Integration necessitates a significant amount of development time, which many test providers with unconnected systems lacked at the outset of the pandemic.

We were unable to use our remote desktop technology to unlock assessments for these providers, which is an important aspect of our remote proctoring procedure. We couldn’t unlock assessments without compromising the exam password without using remote desktop technologies or a software integration.

By the end of February, we had identified a major market need. Hundreds of thousands of test-takers who couldn’t access their examinations and were thus at risk of missing midterms or professional opportunities were counting on us to accommodate them. So we swiftly shifted our focus away from other initiatives, poured our hearts and souls into developing and testing a solution, and waited to see what would stick.

We landed on an idea after multiple iterations and sought beta test partners. The temporary solution was conditional: we could enter the secret password and open an exam if our system could find a single point of access into a partner’s API. If our system couldn’t discover a way to automate the integration, our proctors gave each test-taker a unique public password. On the back end, our system converted the password into a secret password. This technique was a win-win because it allowed us to unlock their assessments without jeopardizing the exam password while also saving test providers time and money. Although it wasn’t a long-term answer, it allowed us to develop a more integrated strategy with our partners.

We designed a concept, tested it with a few partners and test-takers, and then implemented it in our system over the course of two months. While it began as an experiment to satisfy a very specific market need, it eventually evolved into a stronger strategic partner for test providers, allowing test-takers to securely take tests that were previously unavailable.

Test-takers who required technical assistance

Many test takers, like many test providers, were not prepared to switch to remote examinations. Despite our best efforts to collaborate with universities and testing programs to communicate with test-takers ahead of exam hours, over 8% of test-takers attempted to take a Live+ or Review+ exam on a machine that did not satisfy our minimal requirements or provided a negative tech experience.

We employ our remote desktop technology to troubleshoot issues when a test-PC taker’s fails to satisfy our minimum requirements. When troubleshooting fails, we must frequently reschedule the test for the test-taker. In the worst-case situation, we may have to ask the test-taker to switch computers for their exam. You can understand how challenging this is for some test takers. Aside from the usual worry that comes with taking an exam, the added stress of dealing with technical issues made for a bad user experience.

To address the most common technical concerns, we worked with schools and credentialing authorities to enable flexibility in the timing of their tests and introduced extra self-service support applications and documentation. Despite some setbacks, more than 93 percent of test takers who encountered technical difficulties were able to complete their tests using our technology, with 90 percent rating their proctoring experience as “satisfied” or “very satisfied.”

Finale of the series

COVID-19 was a nightmare, but the obstacles it brought led us to reconsider our business strategy. As a result, our company has grown stronger, our products have improved, and we have gained significant knowledge. We weren’t expecting COVID-19, but the improvements we made allowed us to become the only live remote proctoring provider to provide services throughout the pandemic. We put in a lot of effort to get here, and we appreciate our partners’ and test-takers’ patience over the last year. We hope that nothing like this happens again, but if it does, we will be prepared to adjust.

We’d want to hear about how COVID-19 has impacted you and your business. Please send us an email at info@tesosoft.com with details on how you overcame your specific challenges.

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