Online Examinations: Register, Conduct, Report

The world is shifting to an online paradigm, and so is education. Books, courses, academies, teachers, students, and examinations, are all online. The fact about online exams is that in addition to saving the logistics cost of the physical entities involved in a conventional exam, like question papers, answer sheets, etc. they also make it possible for the examiners to make the exam a lot more interactive and engaging. So, instead of the dreaded black letters on a white sheet of paper, students interact with a whole array of rich resources like images, videos, multiple choice questions, on demand programming problems, subjective questions, and a lot more.

A well-crafted online exam is made possible through the use of an efficient and feature rich online exam software. So how do we actually decide whether or not software is efficient? Well, the choice may change depending on specific test requirements, but essentially, online exam software can be called a complete package only when it ticks all these boxes. First of all, the software should allow the organization, or individual, creating the exam, to provide an intuitive landing and registration page, which can hold all the information regarding the test, and allows a candidate to register for the same. Secondly, if there is an examination fee involved, i.e., if the examination is paid, the software should also facilitate a secure payment gateway with all the standard payment options, and a secure and trustworthy environment, so that the process is smooth and easy, without any hiccups.

The next step is the test creation phase. For a creator, the process of framing questions and putting all of it together into a neat examination experience should be completely hassle free. Right from some trivial cases like segmenting and dividing questions into section, to more complex ones, like deciding the flow of questions and how a student is able to access them, on the basis of custom rules and logic, the software should support all of it. Looking deeper into the creation of a particular question, it literally comes down to the features, that the software has, and the kind of resources it can provide, or accept, to use. The software should allow embedding images, and videos, to make the questions more interactive. It should also for different kinds of logic schemes like multiple option selection, single option selection, no change of answers after moving to the next question, etc. The software should also allow the use of different marking schemes which incorporates negative marking for wrong answers. Nowadays, almost every initial round coding interview is conducted online, so the software should be flexible enough to accommodate programming challenges. This means that it should have an online compiler with powerful debugging, and test support, which is informative with visual feedback, and supports all the major programming languages.

But what happens, when an interactive and engaging test is created. What’s next? The exam! To ensure fair practice and a secure examination, the distribution and implementation of the test, is extremely critical. The exams should be conducted in a secure browser environment with full scale monitoring during the examination time. The use of any other applications on the candidate’s desktop should be prohibited, and any misaligned attempt should be recorded for consideration by the examiner(s). Furthermore, there can even be real-time simultaneous updates if a candidate is found to be doing something undesired or inappropriate that is against the integrity of the test, so that immediate action can be taken. This is made possible using advanced artificial intelligence techniques. Furthermore the screen should be recorded for the entire period of examination, for future audit. Also, in order to prevent impersonation, the software can make use of different techniques like sending an OTP to the registered phone number, among other measures.

After an exam has been conducted successfully, the next step is result generation, publication, and analysis. The results should be stored in a secure, and encrypted virtual environment. Also, there should be proper channels for result publication, which means that the software should notify every candidate via email or phone, intimating them to see the results on the platform. The published results should be authentic and clear to understand for the candidate. There should be an option for the candidates to go through their responses, and see the correct response for the question, subject to its availability and release, by the creator.

It is also very important to analyze the performance of candidates in an online exam because it serves a variety of purposes. It helps in setting the threshold for selection, or qualification, and it also helps in analyzing the potential of candidates, based on their educational qualification, experience and other constraints. These reports play a major role in crucial examinations like job interviews and entrance examinations. In addition to the structure and presentation of reports, all the data present in them should be well catalogued and managed. The profile and data of every student, be it information from the of registration, fee clearance details, or the examination screen recording, all of it should be readily available through a centralized dashboard, which can be accessed securely by the creator, and nobody else.

Online exam software can be used by anyone. An individual, an organization, a recruiting firm, a university, or an agency, all of them have some utility for this piece of technology. This software is used for creating quizzes and surveys, for conducting online interviews and assessments, for conducting midterm and end term examinations in a university, to support distance education and learning programs, and much more. There are numerous possibilities for a platform of this kind.

All in all, these are feature rich, custom software which are intended to address all the requirements and challenges that a creator might face at any point of time during the creation and implementation of the exam. These are not just software but more often than not, a complete service which consists, not just of the software, but a complete package that provides an end to end solution for conducting online examinations.

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