Chartered Accountants Ireland is a membership body representing 25,000 accountant members worldwide who hold senior positions in practice and industry. The organisation supports members through education and representation, and offers a range of online and classroom courses for CPD, financial training, tax consultancy and professional development. Because many members live around the globe and study online, running exams presented a logistical difficulty. Suitable test centres and trustworthy local invigilators had to be found in remote locations, which was time consuming, expensive and difficult to scale. There was a need to modernise the exam process for overseas students, while maintaining the integrity of the exams and retaining the ability to offer candidates many different question & answer options, integrating financial statements and resources.
TestReach provided an ideal solution for Chartered Accountants Ireland for their post-graduate Diploma and Certificate programmes. They could roll out exams anywhere around the world, without having to find a local test centre. Exams could be run with greater integrity, with the candidate monitored online by trained supervisors at the TestReach HQ in Dublin, using video, audio and remote screen share. TestReach’s exam authoring platform and interactive canvas allowed for the provision of online financial resources, alongside questions that required both spreadsheet and essay-style responses.
The use of TestReach for international students greatly simplified the logistics of running overseas exams, and provided members with a flexible and convenient approach, as they could sit their exam at any location with exam start-times adjusted for local time zones. Chartered Accountants Ireland is now providing this innovative approach to members living in Ireland, who are offered the option of sitting their exam at a place of their choosing, saving them the time and expense of travelling to a test centre in Dublin.
TestReach was initially used for the Diploma in Corporate Finance, and then for the Diploma in International Financial Reporting Standards. Both exams used the interactive canvas for presenting questions and resources to candidates. This means that candidates can simultaneously view many separate items on their screen including financial resources (such as a profit & loss account) and the question and answer options. With this unique canvas, candidates can re-size any section of the screen to maximise the area they are working on and highlight and annotate any text within the question or the resources. One of the key components is the TestReach office style question, which gives candidates the option to answer using a word processor, a spreadsheet (which supports financial formulas) and a drawing tool for sketching graphs or diagrams.
When members use TestReach for their exam, they complete a short survey afterwards to rate their experience. Participating members are extremely positive and welcome this approach, with over 90% saying their invigilator experience was excellent, and that they would recommend using TestReach to other members. When asked why they had decided to use the remote invigilation option for their exam, participants said they welcomed not having to travel to a test centre, that they liked the idea of working online, in familiar surroundings, and typing their answers.
“It really adds a new dimension to the service we provide to our members” said Joe Carroll, Manager of Specialist & Executive Education & CPD at the Chartered Accountants Ireland. “Not only do our members welcome this innovative approach, but it removes a lot of headaches around organising test centres and invigilators, while at the same time increasing the security and integrity of the exam process itself.”
Kate Doyle, Assessment Co-ordinator at Chartered Accountants Ireland, is delighted with the quality of TestReach’s customer service. “I have a really good relationship with TestReach. Any queries I’ve had are always handled very well and it is great to have that one-to-one customer support on hand,” said Kate. “TestReach understands exams and is familiar with our questions and exam style. The team is personable, learns about our business and has a genuine interest in supporting our approach to exams and working with us as a partner.”
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