Make no bones about it: administering an online test isn’t as easy as it sounds. If you don’t produce a secure, reliable and flexible online assessment, you could alienate test-takers, open the door to cheating and even damage the integrity of your qualification.

But if you get it right, going online can be an easier, simpler and infinitely better way of delivering assessments. Here are five reasons why it’s so important to get it right if you do decide to go online.

To protect against candidate impersonation.

Candidate impersonation (or substitution) is a serious and growing problem in the exam industry.

It means that one of the main challenges of online exam invigilation is making sure the right person sits the right test. And by that, we don’t mean allocating the right test to the right person. It’s about making sure that when Joe Bloggs sits down to take his online assessment, Jane Bloggs doesn’t take it for him instead.

That can be a difficult thing to verify online, and most online software doesn’t have mechanisms in place to protect against candidate substitution.

Comprobo, however, uses biometric facial recognition to ensure that the person who signed up for the assessment takes the assessment. It’s the most effective measure against candidate impersonation or substitution.

To deter and detect cheating.

Facial recognition software isn’t peerless, however. It can protect against candidate impersonation, but can’t, for example, keep track of what each participant is doing during the exam.

In practical terms, that could mean someone moving away from the screen during the exam. When they’ve left, they could simply go and get the answer from a third-party.

If this were to happen during a Comprobo assessment, the test taker would be notified and must return to the screen immediately. If not, they would be in danger of an automatic failure.

With this mechanism in place, you’re able to deter cheating before candidates can even think about it.

To securely log test-taker activity.

There are occasions when candidate behaviour can be a little more subtle than wandering off camera to go and Google the answers.

For instance, they might have a smartphone in front of them, which they can use to find the answers to the test. In that case, you would need to record test-taker activity during the exam.

You can only do that if your online assessment software securely logs test-taker activity. That way, you can check to see if the participants were getting any third-party help during the test.

To protect your company from liability claims.

Let’s imagine a worst case scenario here. Let’s say Joe Bloggs registered for an online assessment, but Jane Bloggs took (and passed) the test on his behalf. Joe Bloggs receives a professional qualification and uses it to get a job in his target industry.

Then, Joe Bloggs makes a mistake at work. It could have financial or legal repercussions – or it could be even worse. If it’s then discovered that the qualification he received from your company wasn’t legitimate, you could be in for a liability claim.

This is another reason why preventing cheating and candidate substitution is so important. Yes, this must be a qualification that people respect, and one that is obtained legitimately.

But it also has to be proof that an individual is qualified to work in that area, and is therefore capable of delivering professional services in that industry. Accurate online invigilation makes sure of this.

To ensure the integrity of your exams.

Ultimately, the most compelling reason why accurate online invigilation is so important is to protect the integrity not only of your exam, but of your entire organisation.

If you’ve failed to deter cheating or failed to detect candidate substitution, why would people trust the validity of your qualification? It’s going to deter future participants from taking your exams, and potentially even damage your brand name. And that kind of damage can take years to recover from.

But get it right, and you’ve got yourself a secure, well-regarded qualification that people trust, that people find easy to access, and that people will want to receive in the future. No; administering online exams isn’t easy. But take heed of these five steps, and you’re well on your way to ensuring it is.