How to Strengthen Security & Integrity of Online Skill Assessment Tests Through Remote Proctoring?

Test givers have come up with clever ways to cheat, which demands new technologies have been developed for strengthening the integrity and security of online skill assessment tests

5 min read
Jan 10, 2022

Since COVID-19 spread throughout the world and transformed into a pandemic, most industries have switched to remote culture. Industries such as IT, software development, customer service, education, skill assessment, and many others have adopted remote culture and made it the norm for other industries as well.

Thanks to this sudden transformation from offline to online, new technologies have been developed for strengthening the integrity and security of online skill assessment tests. Today, various methods of remote proctoring have taken the place of traditional invigilators.

Remote proctoring emulates the role of an on-site invigilator that safeguards the integrity of the ongoing examination. Remote proctoring is a way for remote monitoring and assessment through webcam, microphone, and using other advanced monitoring technologies.

Remote proctored platforms enable candidates to take skill assessment tests from anywhere, anytime as long as they have a good internet connection. After the test is initiated the candidates are continuously monitored through video and audio. Also, AI-enabled proctoring will analyze the patterns such as mouse movement, eye movement, or suspicious behaviors to prevent any cheating or fraud.

It’s taken that if not all but few candidates are likely to cheat during their skill assessment tests. Yes, there are chances of cheating on online tests and there are preventive measures to maintain the integrity of such skill assessment tests.

And it’s the responsibility of test creators to maintain the integrity of tests as candidates can find clever ways and techniques to cheat on their online tests. And for the same, there’s a need to incorporate an advanced AI-enabled remote proctored portal with cheating prevention measures to thwart any cheating or fraudulent attempts.

Here’s an idea of what an advanced skill assessment tests portal should include for better test integrity through remote proctoring methods. But before we get into that, let’s take a closer look at the popular ways candidates can cheat on online skill assessment tests.

  1. Cheating Through Proxy: The candidate asks others or pays a more skilled person to take the test on their behalf. While it is not a new approach, it has grown into a small business of its own.
  2. Help from External Sources: This is also not a new approach where candidates ask their group of friends for assistance during the test to answer questions.
  3. Sharing Screen or Using Several Windows: During online tests, candidates may use several windows to web search for the answers or share their screen with others to pass the skill assessment test.
  4. Messing With Internet Connection: Many times, test-takers would purposefully disconnect their system from the internet in the middle of the test to start over. Doing so will allow them to ensure they answer most questions correctly.
  5. Technical Tampering: Candidates may tamper with the timings of the assessment or login credentials to request a new set of login credentials once they see the questionnaire.

How to Prevent Candidates from Cheating on Online Skill Assessment Tests?

Technology when blended with artificial intelligence can help safeguard the integrity of online skill assessment tests. With AI integration for advanced remote proctoring, the platform will strengthen security and act as a preventive measure against any cheating or fraud during the period of the test. Here’s how it should function and what features should it include:

Video/Audio Surveillance & Analysis

Video and audio recording is the most effective way for remote surveillance and proctoring during an online skill assessment test. This enables test creators to view the visual response/behavior of candidates while answering questions. This remote proctoring ensures candidates refrain from indulging in any suspicious activity and focuses only on answering test questions.

The remote video proctoring would track the eye movement of the candidate and irregular behavior. The platform will then analyze the recorded video and audio for such inconsistencies and create short videos of all such instances. The test creators can watch those short videos to decide if the candidate has cheated on the test or not.

Screen & Audio Recording

Recording the screen along with the audio is another method for remote proctoring that aids in preventing cheating. The platform will consist of an advanced algorithm to note down the instances when the candidate tries to change the test window. Also, the duration for the same is noted to interpret what the candidate is up to during the test.

Also, the platform will record noise or audio coming from the device and interpret if any video is running in the background.

Screen Tracking and Analysis

What else the platform can do is ask candidates to take the test in full-screen window mode. The platform AI will detect the instances when a candidate exits from the full-screen mode.

Apart from that, the platform will be powered to track the mouse movement and clicks to detect if the candidate has left the assessment window and used another monitor for finding answers. Such instances will be analyzed to find if the candidate was trying to access any unauthorized material from the Internet. The platform can take it a step further and disable the snapshots to prevent candidates from cheating.

Candidate ID Authentication

ID authentication is not part of the remote proctoring but utilizes the AI capabilities of the platform. Photo ID authentication is essential to dissuading impersonators from the registered candidates. The AI-powered software will have a multi-level authentication where candidates’ faces will be matched against the photo ID submitted for legitimacy.

If possible, biometric authentication can also be cross verified before the test commences to ensure no imposter is taking the test on behalf of the candidate. If any issues are found during ID authentication, the candidate will be barred from taking the test.

The above-mentioned methods are effective and come in handy for remote proctoring the skill assessment tests through AI-powered platforms. Also, there are some other ways to ensure the test integrity is intact without utilizing the AI capabilities of the platform. Let’s have a look:

IP Address Tracking

Recording and tracking the IP addresses to access the test can help find the approximate location of test-takers. Doing so helps assess if the candidate has tried to access the test from multiple different locations or used VPN to change the IP address to retake the test again.

This could also imply that the candidate has gone too far to cheat on their skill assessment test. They have taken help from external sources to pass the test from another location.

Disabling Copy-Paste

Disabling copy-paste will restrict candidates to copy test questions and pasting them on the internet to find answers. Doing so also limits them to copy-pasting questions and answers in a separate document. Such limitations are important to make sure the integrity of the skill assessment test remains intact.

Randomizing the Questionnaire

This is not a new approach for preventing cheating during online skill assessment tests. In fact, it has been implemented by many online examination portals. Randomizing the questionnaire would remedy the problem of asking questions in the same order, making it hard for a group of candidates taking tests at one place to cheat.

Final Words

Test givers have come up with clever ways to cheat on their online examinations, which demands more advanced cheating prevention methods. With a shift to remote work culture, skill assessment tests have become an integral part to hire associates for remote work. This introduces the concept of remote proctoring.

An AI-enabled platform has become the need of the hour for remote proctored skill assessment tests. Video/audio recording, ID authentication, screen recording with audio, are several ways online skill assessment tests can be remotely proctored. Also, IP address tracking, disabling copy-paste & snapshots, randomizing the questionnaire are some of the ways to enhance the security and integrity of online skill assessment tests.

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