TestReach Blog

Expert Insights into Assessment, Exam Delivery and Computer-based Examinations
Students sitting an online exam with live proctoring, with remote invigilation by a trained supervisor.

Why Proctoring Online Exams Is Becoming Mainstream

It is a large understatement to say that the Covid-19 pandemic has transformed the world of education. Many schools have had to transition to a fully online learning model or a hybrid format. However, there is still the question of how to assess students on what they've learned. Taking exams online on a computer, table or similar electronic devices has already been becoming standard practice, albeit gradually, due to large benefits around security of exam content including test questions, ease of marking and management of candidate results.

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Quality considerations for remote proctoring software

Quality Considerations with Remote Proctoring Software

If you are an organisation running secure examinations for professional candidates for certification or recruitment, you will most likely have heard of remote proctoring software. This software became an essential tool for all awarding organisations during the Covid pandemic, to enable high-stakes examinations to be delivered online, but still under secure conditions. Meeting up in large groups at test centres became impossible, and while some examinations could be rescheduled, many more could not be postponed for what was an unknown amount of time.

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Person at computer using a remote assessment solution

Remote Assessment Solutions: What are Awarding Organisations looking for in 2022?

As we start into the New Year, it seems like a good time to take stock of how changes in the world of assessment have developed over the pandemic. How has the upheaval of the last few years affected our industry? What features and services now need to be provided for awarding organisations running certification programs? And what are the key considerations when comparing possible remote examination software solutions?

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Young man sitting at laptop at home taking an online assessment exam

Using Online Platforms for Career Advancement and Assessments

Over the past year, we’ve seen a massive increase in the use of online learning platforms. Community heads Cathy Li and Farah Lalani at the World Economic Forum reported that school closures due to the pandemic resulted in a rise in the use of language apps, virtual tutoring, video conferencing, and online learning software. Many online learning platforms have also begun offering free access to their services in response to the pandemic, with some seeing as much as a 200 percent increase in the number of new students.

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Stressed candidate sitting an online examination

Exam Anxiety: How Can Online Examinations Help?

University and advanced professional education naturally comes with some level of nervousness and stress, particularly when it comes to examinations. The advent of COVID-19 has exacerbated the situation given that most students now have to attend class and do their exams online. This reduces the normal interaction with other students and tutors which can lead to learners feeling more isolated and nervous about the educational process. While experiencing anxiety is normal for any test taker, being too nervous can negatively affect performance significantly.

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Woman sitting at a table using a laptop for online assessment

10 Informative Facts About Online Assessment Tools

Digital exam delivery can allow students and other test-takers to sit assessments on a computer, rather than on pen-and-paper, with the option of sitting them remotely, which brings flexibility to both administrators and candidates. There are a range of other applications and benefits to digital exam delivery, such as the use of practice tests, formative assessments and e-assessment pilots. This blog post summarises 10 useful facts about online assessment tools that you may not have considered. Read on to learn more.

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A broken plate representing mistakes that can be made in online assessment

The Common Online Assessment Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

There can be challenges on the path to moving examinations online. There are many stages to this process which must be approached in a phased manner to ensure success. Whether you’re just embarking on this process, or are further along the path, it is really important to know what mistakes to look out for. We have asked a number of e-Assessment experts to give us their views on the common online assessment mistakes they witness every day. So now you can learn from their experience and be aware of what to watch out for!

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The Power of Computer Based Question Authoring Tools

Online assessment is known to be a powerful tool in assessing globally dispersed learners and for increasing flexibility for test takers. But one major advantage of computer-based exams that does not make the headlines is the wide range of question types available. Online assessment allows examiners to move beyond multiple choice, without a great increase in administration, since many of the available question types can still be autoscored. Read more about the possibilities here.

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Examining the Experts: Predicting the post-pandemic assessment and e-assessment landscape and trends

Under the current pandemic restrictions, paper-based and test-centre based exams are unable to take place, so there has been a high demand for online assessment software and remote proctoring services. But what is going to be the long-term impact? On this blog we’ve brought together the views of a range of assessment experts to predict the long-lasting impact of the pandemic on the world of assessment and e-assessment. Read on to hear expert views and insights on what to expect.

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The number 7 on a stone representing 7 facts about Online Exams

7 Facts About Online Exams

Undoubtedly the Covid-19 pandemic has transformed examination delivery, with many organisations moving exams online with remote invigilation (online proctoring) in order to comply with the restrictions which prevent candidates congregating in test centres. There are a lot of key differences when it comes to taking an exam online, apart from the obvious one that you can take the exam at home. Here are 7 key facts about taking exams online which you may not have considered before.

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8 Questions to Ask Before Choosing Online Assessment Software

It is very easy to generate a list of desired features for running examinations, but if most suppliers can meet the required features, what do you do in order to more fully understand what company is going to be the best fit for your organisation? Read on to hear our take on the top 8 questions you should ask yourself or your supplier.

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computer being used for online proctoring

Benefits for Candidates: The Reasons Why Organisations Switch to Remote Proctoring Examination Delivery

The Covid-19 crisis has caused a large surge of interest in running examinations with remote proctoring, and many of our clients who were previously running examinations in test centres are switching to our remote proctoring delivery. However, despite the pandemic forcing many to change their approach, it is worth remembering that there are many other benefits for candidates and organisations in using remote proctoring that will continue into the future. Read this blog post to hear what these benefits are and how these have been experienced by a range of our current clients.

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2 people sitting down with their hands on the desk

How to Curate Effective Pre-Employment Assessments

With the backdrop of a highly competitive hiring market, organisations have to balance the needs of applicants vs. the needs of their organisation. While it is essential to apply due rigour to properly screen candidates, this has to be done in a way that ensures applicants participate in the process and have a positive experience. Read more about how pre-employment assessment software can help.

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Man taking an online exam at home with TestReach during Covid-19

Online Invigilation Security for Examinations during Lockdown – How Does it Compare to Test Centres?

Since the Covid-19 crisis and lockdown has hit, test centre examinations are being cancelled. Understandably, many organisations are switching to exam delivery via online invigilation to allow their examinations to continue. As a result, at TestReach we’ve had a lot of queries about how secure it is to run an invigilated exam online. So this blog posts compares the security of test centres and remote invigilation (proctoring) and explains some of the processes around this.

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Accessibility in Assessment – Software and eAssessment Design and Critical Factors to Consider

Making assessments accessible to all is a crucial step in the design of examinations. By combining the best of software design and assessment design, organisations can have the scope to make an examination experience more user-friendly for all. When an exam is provided on-screen, it opens up a range of possibilities to modify the paper and apply special considerations. Read more about both the issues and solutions here.

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Hot air balloons in the sky

Blue Monday: Cheering up the Office with Random Facts

The “Random Fact of the Day” Blog is back this year and bigger than before with 10 extra facts to make your Blue Monday that bit brighter. Today, Monday the 20th January is "Blue Monday"- aka the most depressing day of the year, and here at TestReach, we decided once again to battle the blues by sharing this blog with you all with even more random facts for you to enjoy and even perhaps share with your own colleagues.

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image of hands working on a laptop doing a remotely invigilated exam

Impact of Online Proctoring AEA-Europe Webinar

The latest Association for Educational Assessment Europe (AEA-Europe) webinar was on the subject of online proctoring and the future of assessment. Many awarding bodies are moving to e-assessment and are adopting new exam delivery methods such as online proctoring. This webinar reports on the range of technologies used to provide online proctoring and what to consider when you’re evaluating different systems.

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Woman at home on laptop in a stress-free environment taking an exam

How Online Assessment Software can Reduce Examination Stress

Most people find taking an examination to be very stressful. This blog looks at some of the issues that increase the pressure around exams, and illustrates some key ways in which online assessment software can reduce the stress and hassle of the examination experience.

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Pens in a jar beside a notebook

Examining the Experts in Assessment, with Geoff Chapman

We’re delighted to welcome Geoff Chapman as our latest contributor to our popular “Examining the Experts” series. Geoff is an assessment consultant with over 20+ years in international education and he shares some key insights into the world of assessment and technical innovation in this field, and the challenges that face awarding organisations today. You can also learn about the strange ways people adapt their bodies in order to cheat at examinations!

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Stones balancing on top of one another on a beach

Online Assessment for Candidate-Centric Exams - The Changing Balance of Power

Traditionally the balance of power has been tipped firmly towards examining bodies and test takers have been very good at obeying the rules when it comes to completing their assessments. But the balance of power is moving towards the candidate at an ever-increasing rate. Read on to learn how online assessment can help deliver a candidate-centric approach to test delivery.

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Examining the Experts in Computer-Based Assessment

Examining the Experts in Computer-Based Assessment, with Teresa Jacobs

The world of examinations and assessment is full of surprises, and this blog post from assessment expert Teresa Jacobs will entertain you with unexpected stories of what can happen to exam scripts, why examinations can be torture, what to do when nervous candidates vomit on their scripts, the transformative impact of computer-based assessment and the weird and wonderful places that end up being test centres!

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Assessment trends

The Five Latest Trends in Assessment and How They Can Transform Your Organisation

The huge advancements in computer-based testing are redefining the possibilities of assessment, particularly in terms of what can be tested, how and when. These advancements mean that there are many more applications for both summative and formative testing, applications that even a couple of years ago would not have been possible. This blog post highlights the 5 key trends that are transforming assessment for organisations today and into the future.

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Balloons released in the sky

Blue Monday: Cheering up the Office with Random Facts

The “Random Fact of the Day” is a fun topic for discussion in the TestReach office that has been engaging the team in some light hearted conversation. Today, the 21st January, is otherwise known as ‘Blue Monday’ - aka the most depressing day of the year. So for today’s blog post we thought we would share some of the interesting random facts we’ve learned and discussed at TestReach over the past year, with the hope it makes the day less gloomy for all!

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Student using offline exam delivery on a laptop

Offline Assessment or Offline Exam Delivery… All your questions answered!

Offline assessment technology is vital to awarding bodies who deliver computer-based exams across the world, often in areas of poor internet connectivity. This blog post covers all you need to know about how it works, the benefits of this approach and the factors to consider to use this technology successfully.

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Athens - location of the eATP conference in 2018 where the procurement session was hosted

Best Practice in Procurement of an eAssessment Solution

Are you making the transition to e-assessment? Investigating potential suppliers? This article is essential reading on the topic of e-assessment procurement, and features many valuable and practical tips for comparing vendors. As a review of a session that took place at the e-ATP Conference in Greece this year, it features The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) who gave an overview of the activities that added value to their own e-assessment procurement process.

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Man at laptop doing on-screen question authoring

On-Screen Question Authoring for Examinations, with Charlotte Warr

When you are creating and managing question items, there are undoubtedly many benefits to using an on-screen assessment authoring solution. But what is the experience for an individual exam question author? Charlotte Warr, Managing Director at Sarnia Training Limited, who is an experienced question writer, gives us some feedback on her personal experiences of on-screen question authoring.

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Examining the Experts in Assessment, with Matthew White

We’re delighted to welcome Matthew White as our latest contributor to the “Examining the Experts” series. Matthew is an expert in building assessments and managing the quality of assessments on a national scale. Matthew gives some key insights into the cultural restraints of paper-based testing, assessing skills not just knowledge, plagiarism and remote invigilation, not to mention a police raid on a test centre!

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A lamp shining onto a laptop on a desk

Examining the Experts in Assessment for Awarding Bodies, with Denise Edens

We’ve posed some more difficult questions to our latest expert in assessment, Denise Edens from Edens Education. Read on to hear her thoughtful responses about the challenges that awarding bodies face, recommended changes to GCSEs as well as technical developments in assessment and what it means for Principal Examiners. Denise has supported a number of awarding bodies and training centres in delivering assessment and in developing new qualifications.

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Examination papers piled on desk for marking

Online Marking Software: What are the key benefits of on-screen exam marking tools?

Are you using excel or paper to mark exams? It might be time to investigate new on-screen exam marking tools that can streamline your exam administration. Here we outline five key benefits that examining bodies have realised from the use of online marking software. There is also useful information on making the transition to online marking and an overview of the types of on-screen marking tools available.

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Examining the Experts in Assessment, with Peter Bennett

It’s a tricky question, what is assessment trying to measure and how can this be done differently? Addressing this and many other questions is our most-recent expert blog contributor Peter Bennett. Peter has been involved in the design and development of examinations and competence assessment programmes for more than 20 years. Read on to pick up useful insights into the world of exam design, technology and much more!

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linear loft

To LOFT or not to LOFT, that is the question

Historically, huge effort has been involved in ensuring that the exams associated with any qualification or course are effective and fit for purpose. This typically includes a detailed review of all questions, to not only ensure that they are clear and correct, but also that they adequately represent all parts of the syllabus or learning outcomes on which the user is to be tested.

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Examining the Experts in Assessment, with Paula Goddard

Our latest ‘Examining the Experts’ blog features Paula Goddard, experienced senior examiner, freelance educational writer and Fellow of The Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors. Read on to learn from her experience and knowledge on the world of assessment, exam delivery and exam technology.

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Magnifying glass on books representing examining experts in assessment

Examining the Experts in Assessment, with Graham Hudson

Our new blog series ‘Examining the Experts’ asks leaders and experts in assessment – practitioners and consultants, authors and solution providers – to share their experience and knowledge on the world of assessment and how exam delivery is changing over time. Today's contributor is Graham Hudson, International Examinations Delivery Practitioner, GA Partnership Ltd.

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Exam Delivery Online – A World of Constant Innovation

For anyone working in the world of exams, it is clear that online assessment gives awarding bodies a great opportunity to streamline and simplify their assessment processes. Who wouldn’t want to ditch paper-based exam sheets and eradicate the need to move everything manually from candidate to marker to administrator in a secure manner?

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Man hands with ipad showing graphs measuring student exam data

What student exam data should we measure?

With more and more processes and systems being computerised, there is the potential to collect a lot more data as we "swipe" into buildings and login to applications. Universities and associations are becoming increasingly interested in this broader range of student data, as opposed to just focusing on academic results.

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A martini in a glass with two olives

Exam Delivery Tools to Optimise Corporate Certification Programmes – A "martini" Approach?

In an increasingly litigious society, coupled with growing levels of competition, many corporations are introducing formal certification programmes for their employees and partners. This not only sets the standard that has to be achieved, but it also helps to ensure that employees operate in a compliant manner, in line with external regulations or company rules.

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Two technical apprenticeship students being taught by older man

Apprenticeship Delivery and Assessment – Some Recent Views

While many of the UK government’s apprenticeship reforms are being welcomed, these changes are altering the vocational landscape in ways that are not yet predictable and there is uncertainty around how assessments will be run and funded. This was very apparent from presentations on the subject given at a recent Assessment Tomorrow conference, which TestReach was pleased to sponsor.

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Measuring tape

Proving the Value of Training

Training is an expensive business, not just when you consider the hard costs of venues, trainers, printing material and fees to develop e-learning content, but also in terms of the investment in time, both by the learners and training administration staff. With this backdrop, all organisations are keen to ensure that the training they provide is as effective as it can be, and that the significant costs involved are justified.

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Logo for EAssessment Awards

Remote Invigilation Features At E Assessment Conference And Awards

TestReach is delighted to be attending and sponsoring the 15th annual international e-Assessment Question conference in America Square Conference Centre in London on 22nd and 23rd March. The conference is focussed on the practical issues of commissioning, implementing and delivering e-Assessment solutions.

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Firework Exploding in the sky

A Big Bang Approach To Exams Or Online Invigilation?

It’s coming to that time of year again, when school and university students remove themselves from daily life, bury their heads in books and try to cram everything into the (somewhat) small few inches between their ears. This big bang approach to exams is dreaded by students and examining bodies alike, but can remote invigilation offer a better alternative?

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Man writing on paper doing an exam

The Traditional Exam Hall – Are Candidates At A Disadvantage?

Welcome to the new TestReach blog series! This is the start of what will be a succession of thought-provoking articles and news about the world of online assessment, examinations and technology. To kick start things, this inaugural blog post is going to tackle the thorny question of whether the traditional exam hall approach is placing candidates at a disadvantage.

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