5 Tips for Holding Online Exams

COVID-19 wreaked havoc on our lives. Our everyday routines were disrupted and our way of living was changed forever. Although some things are starting to return to normal, education systems have had to adapt to online learning and assessment. 

Online learning can be tricky to master, but online assessments are even trickier to set up and control. If you’re in education and you’ve been struggling with online assessments, we’ve put together 5 essential tips for holding secure online exams. 

1. Communicate Expectations 

In traditional exam settings, it’s easy to lay down the law. Students are usually assembled at the venue, and addressed directly so that they’re fully aware of the examination process and how to proceed with the assessment. 

When things move online, communication becomes slightly more difficult. This is why it’s important to prepare twice as hard for online exams than in-person exams and give detailed instructions on how the assessment must be completed. 

We recommend sending students an extensive email detailing the process, addressing any potential questions and hiccups you think you might encounter. To ensure that students read and understand these expectations, make them e-sign a document stating that they understand the process fully. This will help to clear up any confusion on the day of the assessment.

2. Decide on a Format 

You might be asking yourself “how are online exams conducted at home?”. The good news is, online learning platforms have developed multiple tools for teachers and students, to make the process smoother. These tools also exist for online testing. A quick Google search will reveal some of the best options for online testing, but we’re huge fans of Google’s very own Google Forms. 

Google Forms is not only free and accessible, but it’s easy for both teachers and students to navigate. As long as you make sure to familiarize yourself with the very easy process long before test day, you should be good to go! 

Other methods include conducting an online exam in Zoom or conducting an online exam in Google Classroom. 

3. Be Available for Questions

On the day of the actual test, you need to make sure that you’re available to answer any questions and solve any issues. In your instruction email, give students your preferred way of getting in contact.

Whether it’s email, Zoom, or Skype, make sure that you’re able to reply quickly to any messages, so that students don’t end up panicking. However, if you’ve prepared well enough and sent out a super detailed instruction email, you shouldn’t have to worry. 

4. Think About Student Convenience 

While online exams are convenient for some, not all of your students are going to have the luxury of a stable internet connection and a quiet place to take the online exam.

This is why it’s essential that you check in with your students long before the online assessment to ensure that everyone has a fair shot. In your instructional email, you should reach out to students and ask them to let you know in advance if they have any issues accessing a quiet exam space or have difficulty accessing the internet.

5. Eliminate the Possibility of Cheating 

Cheating is a huge concern in any exam setting and online exams are no exception. You could try to lay it on thick and emphasize that if your students cheat, they’re only cheating themselves. The truth is, cheating is quite difficult to police online but it isn’t entirely impossible.

Remote proctoring services are an excellent way of keeping an eye on your students and making sure that they don’t cheat. Online proctoring services vary, but they usually involve closely monitoring students during the testing process and using AI technology to look for any unusual behaviors during the test. 

Online Exams: The Bottom Line

Moving education online has been a tough task for teachers globally. But online exams don’t have to be too stressful if you prepare effectively, communicate efficiently, and use the right tools to monitor students. For more education-related tips, tricks and news check out the education section on our site!

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