Language testing: A changing landscape

LanguageCert Online Proctored Exams

A changing landscape
Due to the mounting popularity of online education programmes, the increasing internationalisation of education and the growing demand for certification, online proctored
testing is forecast to develop more than ever before. Currently, thousands of online-proctored tests are regularly administered by universities, colleges, commercial organisations and professional institutes. Therefore, it was no surprise to see LanguageCert provide candidates globally (since 2019) with one more option to achieve their certification goals.

Text by: Paul Bouniol

What is LanguageCert Online Proctored testing all about?
LanguageCert Online proctored testing (OLP) allows candidates to take their exam remotely with a proctor not physically present. However, the proctor relies on a highly sensitive system which uses online connectivity to observe, analyse and record the test takers’ behavior so that they do not attempt any kind of fraudulent behavior. Actually, OLP testing is an add-on to computer-based assessment which allows candidates to sit secure exams from their preferred location. Thanks to OLP, candidates - wherever they are - simply need to have access to a secure and quiet room, a suitable device (laptop or desktop PC), an internet connection, a functional webcam and a microphone.

What are the benefits of LanguageCert Online Proctored testing for candidates?
LanguageCert Online Proctored testing presents a number of benefits for candidates compared to ‘traditional proctoring’: among others, candidates can take their exam from their preferred location at any time as they can have exams tailored to their schedule, without additional travel costs. What is more, if needed, candidates can be guided by their remote proctor throughout their exam, and the whole procedure is smooth and simple thanks to the most sophisticated state-of-the-art platform that LanguageCert uses.

How is the integrity of LanguageCert Online Proctored exams ensured?
Several steps are taken to ensure the integrity of all LanguageCert Online Proctored exams. Before starting the exam, ID evidence is captured via webcam and stored securely as part of the candidates’ file. Then the candidates’ PC or laptop is automatically locked down when they download and install the exam software previously sent to them. Upon exam initiation, the application locks down the exam environment in two ways: by means of navigation prevention features (e.g. right-clicking, use of function keys and desktop, key combinations, copy-pasting and printing) and infringement prevention features (launching of any application during the
exam session, use of all communication software, connecting a second monitor etc.).

Our software allows proctors to communicate with candidates using audio/video throughout the session. The software informs the online proctor if it identifies any notable ‘unusual’
behavior (e.g. tilting head, eye movement, missing face, voice detection) and produces a statistical analysis of the completed exam which may expose anomalies reflecting attempts to
cheat. All alerts are represented by icons on the proctor’s interface and are tagged, timestamped and logged so that they can be revisited during any audit required. Recordings
include that of the candidates’ webcam, desktop activity, chat transcript and even the use of the proctor’s computer.

What about test procedure?
Clearly, just like in any ‘testing setting’, candidates need to adhere to exam rules, such as making sure the lighting in their room is bright enough, their desk is clear, and the room is quiet. They also need to make sure they have a monitor big enough to display the exam content legibly, a keyboard, a mouse, and a web camera that can be rotated. Finally, they need to remember that the use of any aid (eg. books and notes) is strictly prohibited and that they cannot leave the
room for any reason during their exam (unless granted explicit permission to do so).

 LanguageCert Online Proctored testing: now part of a wider solution.

LanguageCert will naturally continue to administer its traditionally proctored computer-based and paper-based exams globally but is also offering its Online Proctored testing method to cover all test takers’ needs. It can offer a more personalised level of service and more ‘when’ and ‘where’ options, i.e. more exam dates, exam times tailored to a candidate’s schedule, and avoiding inconvenient journeys if there is no exam centre nearby. Exam administration is very smooth with the LanguageCert Online Proctoring solution, the technology used is minimal and
the same levels of testing integrity are attained compared to examinations traditionally proctored. LanguageCert Online Proctored testing is here to stay!