Note: Surpass Assessment is now the company name for BTL and BTL Surpass.
Remote Invigilation is a convenient, reliable and scalable solution for delivering your assessment programme to candidates, wherever they are. With widespread access to reliable high-speed internet and the candidate’s own phone and web cameras, remote invigilation could be the perfect way to deliver tests to candidates in the comfort of their own home or workplace.
In this case study, you’ll get an insight into how early adopters of remote invigilation, the Association of Corporate Treasurers (ACT), uses this technology, including:
- Why they chose remote invigilation over physical test centre delivery
- Key features of the process
- Live vs. record and review invigilation
- Tips for getting started
About the Association of Corporate Treasurers (ACT)
Organisation type: Professional membership body for treasurers, with Royal Charter
Number of countries reached: 91
Number of students per year: 1,700 (3,500 exam sittings)
Number of examinations: 20
Busiest times: April and October
Chosen delivery settings:
Test Type: ☑ Session-based testing | ☐ On demand
Exam duration: 90 – 240 minutes
Breaks permitted: Yes, for exams with 4-hour duration
Test content: Multiple choice and Essay
Invigilation type: ☑ Live | ☑ Record & Review
Camera angles: 3
Support: ☑ Live | ☐ Automated
What is Remote Invigilation?
Remote Invigilation is the monitoring of a candidate taking a test using their device’s webcam, smartphone and microphones over the internet whilst they conduct their examination. As well as the person watching the live feed, or playing back a recorded exam session, AI technology can be used to support the candidate and flag potential instances of malpractice.
The workflow for remote invigilation with Surpass follows industry best practice. The following example illustrates one of the many approaches that can be taken using remote invigilation with Surpass.
Why did the ACT Choose Remote Invigilation?
The ACT began using remote invigilation in 2016, moving to the Surpass Remote Invigilation Service a couple of years into that journey. Remote invigilation can be beneficial for many reasons, but some of the key factors for the ACT in moving to remote delivery were:
As a small but global organisation delivering qualifications to candidates in more than 90 countries around the world, hosting such dispersed sets of learners in test centres wasn’t cost effective. By using remote invigilation, there’s no limit to candidate reach.
Candidates can take their test from any location, such as their home, or even while on a business trip providing greater convenience and flexibility for both them and their employer.
With a dual-camera view of the candidate as well as screen capture, thorough ID and environment checks, invigilators trained to detect malpractice and full access to recordings, remotely invigilated tests are as secure, if not more so, that traditional centre delivery.
“Since moving our online assessment platform to Surpass, and utilising the online Proctoring service…we are confident in the security and quality of our assessments and the experience for students has improved significantly. Working only with BTL for a single end-to-end solution is extremely beneficial…in that we have only one supplier to work with; the students are supported throughout the process by a team that understands the full solution, and it’s cost effective.”Janet Legge – ACT
Key Features of the Process
As candidates are using their own device, it’s important to ensure that it meets the minimum requirements for the smooth-running of the assessment. Approximately 2 weeks prior to the exam day, a series of system checks are sent to the candidate to carry out, along with instructions for downloading the smartphone app used during the self-serve security and ID checks. Following up with candidates who have not undertaken system checks is automated, helping to proactively identify and resolve any issues ahead of time.
“The fact that this is all done in advance, provides the student with the reassurance that they are ready to go.”Nicoleta Toma – ACT
The student logs into the portal and works through a series of ID and environment checks, which includes presenting valid identification, and using the smartphone camera to capture views under the desk and around the room, before placing the camera behind them. They then begin their Surpass assessment as normal at the exam start time, with in-test assistance available should the candidate have any technical issues. This process is automated to avoid long waiting times for candidates.
“We love that [dual-camera] element of it…having that third view, because so much happens on the keyboard…the phone gives you that, it’s brilliant”Janet Legge – ACT
Whether being invigilated live, or reviewed afterwards, detailed incident reports from trained invigilators are sent to the awarding organisation flagging up potential malpractice during the test for further review where necessary. Marking can start as soon as the assessment is submitted using the Surpass online marking tools, and results issuing continues as normal. Exam footage is kept on file for a limited time, should there be any appeals.
“This method is really a game-changing way of invigilating; our students are located in more than 80 countries and this enables them to sit their exams wherever they are in the world. As long as they have access to wifi, a smartphone and laptop or PC with a webcam they’re good to go… It’s particularly useful to have all the recordings available to review, not only in terms of checking the student is who they say they are, but should there be any issues, we can review them to check how the student may have been impacted, something that wasn’t possible in the old days of sitting in a venue.”Nicoleta Toma – ACT
Live or Record and Review?
The Association of Corporate Treasurers uses both the live and record and review methods or remote invigilation and find both have their benefits in different scenarios.
The ACT chooses live invigilation for exams over 3 hours in length, and record and review for the shorter tests, but both methods provide the same level of security.
“It’s nice to have a choice, we find both functionalities incredibly useful… online invigilators are highly skilled in body language, they have a high level of observation skills so it’s really reassuring to have someone there who can immediately pick up on suspicious behaviour…on the other hand, record and review is also very effective, as the videos are reviewed and reported on in detail still, allowing us to do any further investigation.”Nicoleta Toma – ACT
With live invigilation, a trained invigilator watches the candidate in real-time, with the session also recorded for audit purposes. With record and review, reviewers watch back test footage at high speed after the exam has taken place, which can be effective for spotting repetitive unusual behaviour. With both methods, any suspicious activity, or anything that does not adhere to exam guidelines is flagged to the awarding organisation using a RAG status for further review and action where required. The certification or awarding body makes the final decision over whether to follow up on suspected malpractice.
“People forget they are being recorded so their bad behaviour will come out… [malpractice] is more visible to us now than it would have been in the past, which isn’t a bad thing.”Janet Legge – ACT
The ACT’s Top Tips for Getting Started with Remote Invigilation
The ACT successfully implemented remote invigilation in a short timeframe, and gained a lot of experience in how to effectively transition to this delivery method, and keep the process as straightforward as possible for candidates. If you’re thinking of venturing into remote invigilation, some key considerations are:
Get internal stakeholders on board
Having your team internally on board with this delivery method and ensuring they understand the benefits is key to a successful implementation.
Make sure your own internal team are familiar and comfortable with the technology. If the team isn’t confident, candidates won’t be either. Think about the impact moving to remote invigilation will have on your team and what new skill sets you may need.
When delivering globally, be aware of where you’re delivering your exams, and the different challenges that might be presented in different countries.
Being transparent with candidates about what’s required and keeping that message consistent across multiple channels is key. Whether that’s via step-by-step instructions in an email, bite-size instructions on social media, or video how to guides, always give the same message. This can help change the mindset of those learners who may not be as confident with technology.
Further Resources and Information
If you’d like to learn more about the Surpass Remote Invigilation Service, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team by contacting email@example.com.
More insight from Janet Legge and Nicoleta Toma on their implementation of remote invigilation can be found in this webinar and podcast.
About the Association of Corporate Treasurers
The only professional treasury body with a Royal Charter, the Association of Corporate Treasurers (ACT) sets the global benchmark for treasury excellence, leading the profession through their internationally recognised qualification.
Founded in 1979 by a small group of practitioners who recognised the need for a professional association due to the growing significance of treasury management, it had gained 378 members by later that same year. This success continued, and today, The ACT has over 4500 members and 1700 students in over 90 countries, and in the UK in 86% of the FTSE 100 companies.
With a mission to ‘embed the highest standards of professionalism and integrity in the treasury world, and act as its leading advocate’, The ACT enables and supports treasury professionals throughout their careers.
About BTL & Surpass
Surpass, provided by BTL, powers the assessment of some of the world’s highest-profile awarding organisations and certification and licensure bodies. Surpass has been used to deliver over 25 million high-stakes examinations to date in areas such as medicine, finance, languages as well as general qualifications and functional skills.
BTL serve a global community from offices in the UK and US with their award-winning assessment platform for the secure authoring, delivery, marking and reporting of on-screen and paper-based examinations. A range of professional test development and delivery services including a global test centre network and innovative online proctoring technology help BTL and the Surpass Community with their mission to improve the assessment experience for everyone.