“Board Examinations are postponed.”
“University Examinations will be rescheduled after the situation is back to normal.”
“Examinations are cancelled.”
You all might be often hearing this in the past two-three months.
COVID-19 has hit the world hard and forced nations to shut down their movement to contain the spread of such an outrageous virus. While businesses have adapted the “Work from Home” model to ensure business continuity, it is witnessed as quite a crucial time for the education sector. Board examinations, entrance tests, competitive examinations, university exams and school final exams among others are generally held at this time. With the novel coronavirus forcing school and university closures, different solutions are being introduced for the exams that students have been preparing to take.
In the wake of this emergency situation, educational institutes around the globe are switching to online exams. But it’s a pretty untapped area. So, besides its benefits also comes certain challenges.
Preparing question banks with question types the same as normal exams come as a blow while preparing to conduct an online examination. As the exams will be computer-based, the fear of malpractices comes along. Thus, security is one of the critical challenges. Moreover, communication with the test-taker, internet connectivity, accessibility, and ability to take tests of thousands of students at a time prevents educational institutions from making a shift to online examination.
Thankfully, technological advancement addresses these challenges effectively and efficiently. Today, there are a plethora of Online Examination & Assessment Platforms that unleash the potential of this untapped domain. Right from helping teachers save ample marking time to freeing students from the hassles of putting pen and paper to demonstrate their knowledge, online exams bring in a lot of benefits. Furthermore, the digital assessment model explores the possibility of automated marking for standardized tests with the ability to conduct secure examinations from the comfort of the test-taker’s home; thus, eliminating the need to travel or physical contact.
Introduction to Mercer | Mettl
While there are many different online examination and assessment platforms on the market, Mercer | Mettl is a leading and end-to-end unified online assessment platform. While it is used by companies to set up and administer tests securely at scale to identify and evaluate the best talent, it is also leveraged by educational institutions for distance learning, e-learning courses, executive programs, and conducting as well as assessing online examination.
With Mercer | Mettl’s disruptive technology, educational institutes are now able to reach out to their students in remote locations. Whether they want to assess their students’ skills through mid-term exams, semester exams, or any entrance or competitive exams, Mercer | Mettl empowers them to conduct any of the high-stakes exams. All that the administrator needs to do is upload the question sets. It supports a range of question types, nearly 26, thus resolving your concerns of preparing a question bank similar to the normal exam. Hence, you can consider Mercer | Mettl as a platform provider, which helps education institutes in digitizing the pen and paper based tests.
When it comes to taking high-stakes tests, such as semester or entrance exams like JEE, CAT, NEET, IIT, to name a few, it is crucial for test organizers to prevent cheating; be it on-screen or impersonification. To ensure that no such incidents take place during the test, Mercer | Mettl brings in advanced anti-cheating features; thus, asserting 100% reliability, credibility, and security. Moreover, being LTI compliant, it easily integrates with other LTI compliant platforms in minutes without requiring you to write any code.
While it is changing the way educational institutions conduct and assess examinations, let’s delve deeper into its features and gauge its prominence!
Sneak Peek into Mercer | Mettl Examine & ProctorPLUS
Mercer | Mettl EXAMin is a customizable, scalable, secure, and feature-rich examination platform. Whether you require taking entrance exams, surveys, quizzes, or mid and end-term online exams, Mercer | Mettl is a complete solution for all your examination needs. Right from setting up question banks and configuring results to inviting test-takers, authorizing the test takers, proctoring in real-time, and generating instant reports, Mercer | Mettl looks into every step of your online examination and assessment needs.
Let’s navigate through the platform as an Examination Administrator/Teacher/Lecturer and explore it!
As you login into your Mercer | Mettl portal, below is what you see,
As you can view, Mercer | Mettl offers a simple, intuitive, and easy to use platform. Even naive users with least technical skills can get a knack of this platform within minutes. Since it is cloud-based, it ensures scalability, mobility, and reliability. Additionally, you can customize the platform as per your needs.
Be it creating a personalized test or leveraging the one already created, Mercer | Mettl has got your back. Moreover, you can navigate to Live Feed, Reports, Question Banks, and Mercer | Mettl’s pre-built Test Library with just a click of the button.
2. Question Bank Management
As we mentioned earlier, Mercer | Mettl EXAMin supports a range of question types; to be specific 26 types. Whatever question type you may need to put in your test – be it Multiple Choices, Checkbox, Short Answer Questions, Essay Questions, Fill in the Blanks, File Upload Type, Diagram Type, and more; it supports all. Hence, you can create a test like the normal examination.
Moreover, it supports bulk upload formats. You can upload your question bank on the Mercer | Mettl platform with a simple click of a button. Furthermore, it supports a range of test languages. Hence, you can take the test in your preferred language.
3. Test/Exam Management
Here, you will see all the question banks created and submitted by different faculties. Besides, you can create a new test and customize it as per your requirements. Right from naming your test to choosing its language, duration, difficulty level, grading scheme, and more custom settings, it lets you access all the functionalities.
When we sit for physical examinations, we have a set of instructions given on the question paper. Thus, we can provide appropriate answers. But is this the case with online examinations?
Well, it is possible when you are on the Mercer | Mettl’s Online Examination & Assessment Platform!
Mercer | Mettl enables you to set specific instructions for every section of the question paper. You can even set the time limit to answer questions/sections, make some/all questions mandatory, and even show multiple questions on a single page. Moreover, to ensure that test takers with different time slots do not indulge in cheating, Mercer | Mettl empowers you to randomize question and answer options for your test takers.
Here, you have access to anti-cheating and security settings also.
Once the test gets created, you can,
- Choose the time slots when (from-to) the test can be accessed
- Enable/disable Mercer | Mettl Secure Browser. It is specifically built to secure a test-taker’s exam environment and prevent on-screen cheating. Also named as Lockdown Browser, this functionality prevents the test takers to navigate through other websites and search engines. Moreover, it blocks access to emails, browsers, virtual machines, remote desktops, scream sharing tools, etc. Besides, it disables the external ports of the test-taker’s system to ensure that no cheating takes place by inserting any type of USBs or hard drives. Above all, Mercer | Mettl even prevents the test takers to copy, paste, or print the test content.
- Set browsing tolerance. It won’t let the test-takers navigate from the test window. If they do so, a warning will be given.
- You can switch on advanced visual proctoring to ensure test taker’s authentication, capture test taker’s image as well as their screen during the test, and more. It detects if any additional person appears on the screen, or if the test taker navigates away from the window. In addition to this, it supports automatic face verification and eye detection at regular time intervals to gauge what’s running in the background.
4. Proctoring & Anti-Cheating
Proctoring and anti-cheating are two vital elements of an online assessment platform, and this is what makes Mercer | Mettl a unique provider.
Here, you can view the number of test takers taking the test and navigate to its ‘Live Feed.’ It gives you a classroom view of test takers appearing for the test. One classroom can have 20, 30, 40, and more test-takers. You can proctor them all from a single screen. A classroom looks as such,
Mercer | Mettl offers two types of proctoring – human-based and AI-based. These proctoring abilities guarantee that test takers don’t cheat. While proctoring, proctors can communicate with test-takers, instruct them, and even warn them in case of any malpractices. Proctors can even pause the test or resume it if the test-taker faces issues like unprecedented power cuts, low internet bandwidth, or anything else. Mercer | Mettl enables you to provide full support to the test-takers while proctoring. If the proctor finds the test-taker indulging in cheating repeatedly, he can even end the test for him.
- Human Assisted Live Proctoring & AI-based Auto Proctoring
When you are on the proctoring dashboard, you can view all the test-takers as shown above. If a test-taker is caught cheating, a flag gets raised on your dashboard. You will see that test taker’s tile flagged and highlighted. You can simply click on it and navigate to his/her live feed.
As you navigate, you will see the reason why the flag was raised. In the case below, it’s because Mercer | Mettl detected an additional person on the screen.
- Test Log
There are a number of reasons whenever a flag is raised. It might be possible that a test-taker isn’t present in front of the screen, if he is found using a mobile, someone else comes to his help, if he is looking away from the screen, etc. Thanks to Mercer | Mettl’s AI capabilities, a flag is raised for every action of the test-taker unless he is attending the test sincerely.
Let’s say; you want to view the test taker’s screen. Mercer | Mettl just requires you to click on the toggle button and you are all good to go.
This gives you an overview of what exactly was going on behind the test screen. For instance, you can easily figure out if the test-taker is surfing on the internet or seeking help from other resources.
Further, to ensure that only the test-taker who registered for the test is taking it, the proctor can verify the registration details. He can check the identity card and take a profile snapshot as authentication before the test starts. Thus, Mercer | Mettl assures you that no cases of impersonation occur.
Besides, the proctor also sees a test log that helps him analyze the test-taker’s actions while giving the test. All these logs provide actionable insights, i.e., you can click and drill down to the test-taker’s screen when that specific log got recorded.
Thus, with a blend of Artificial Intelligence and Human Proctoring, Mercer | Mettl empowers you to take high-stake tests without the fear of any students being able to cheat.
5. Intuitive Reports
Your reporting dashboard can be viewed as below,
It gives a list of test takers who have taken the test. You can click on any test-taker and view their report. Right from the time test was taken to the registration details, everything is presented in the report. Next, you will see the overall summary of the test, i.e., section-wise score, percentile, or percentage. The report also gives a graphical representation of the number of attempts in terms of correct, incorrect, and not attempted. Along with this, you can see the time taken, and the number of questions referred.
Scrolling down, you get section-wise details, question-wise information, and the answers written by the test-taker. You also have the option to re-evaluate the answer manually. The last part of the report is the test log, wherein you can see the images and video recordings of the test-taker’s screen and the applicant himself. It also highlights the complete recording with different colors so that you can easily identify when the test-taker was involved in cheating activities.
You can have this report as a future reference or a proof in case a test-taker argues he wasn’t cheating.
6. Test-Taking Experience
While conducting online examinations is crucial, the test-taker’s experience is also paramount. Mercer | Mettl ensures that test-takers face no inconvenience when they sit to take exams.
Whenever a test is scheduled, the test-takers receive an email for the same. This email comprises links to the test and system check. Simply clicking on the test link enables the test-taker to start the test. It takes the test-taker to the Mercer | Mettl Secure Browser, wherein the test-taker needs to give access to a webcam and microphone. Once the system receives all the required permissions, the test gets loaded.
To ensure that no one is involved in any kind of malpractice, Mercer | Mettl asks test takers to provide their registration details and then take a picture of themselves and photo ID proof. Once this is done, the proctor gets authorization request. After the proctor verifies the test-taker’s profile, he/she can allow them to sit for the test.
This authorization flow ensures that only the person who earlier registered for is giving the test. The test taker is allowed to take the test only when the proctor finds everything perfect.
Once the test starts, test takers can seamlessly navigate across different sections, switch to various questions, and end the test after seeing the summary. There’s a chat window that the test-taker can utilize to chat with the proctor in case of any troubles.
Secure Your Online Exams with MPaaS
While online examinations always evoke a sense of insecurity, Mercer | Mettl Proctoring as a Service (MPaaS) ensures to prevent cheating with its effective proctoring technology. It adds a security layer to your examination platform; thus, making online exams, assessments, and more secure.
This cloud-based proctoring service integrates seamlessly with your LMS and other web-based apps through APIs. Thus, you no longer need to invest in additional hardware costs. Moreover, as we referred above, it comes with a comprehensive set of anti-cheating features, including Test-Taker Authentication, AI-based Proctoring, and Human-based Proctoring. It’s AI-based proctoring guarantees 95% accuracy in detecting cheating.
Besides, MPaaS comes in handy when you want to,
- Conduct examination on your own platform or Mercer | Mettl’s assessment platform
- Plug it into your existing LMS or other web-based apps
- Have content on your own platform in case of privacy issues; or
- Have the content author not learn or migrate to a new platform
Furthermore, Mercer | Mettl and MPaaS are LTI compliant, i.e., they can integrate with other LTI compliant platforms in minutes without requiring you to write any code. MPaaS seamlessly integrates with over 250 LTI-compliant LMSs. Additionally, it empowers you to create real-time reports, secure data with robust security, and provide a seamless test-taker and admin experience.
Moreover, Mercer | Mettl boasts to have conducted over 100,000 proctored assessments in a day, which demonstrates the scalability and credibility of the platform.
While Mercer | Mettl is an outstanding online exam and assessment platform leveraged by top educational institutions like IIM, it has also got a vast test library with a wide range of tests for corporates. This includes determining an applicant’s talent in terms of Psychometric, Aptitude, Coding, Domain, Sales Profiler, and Spoken English Evaluator tests. Moreover, to free enterprises from the fuss of creating tests, it offers a predefined library with 1 million content entries for 3200+ skills. Thus, it simplifies the recruitment process.
Well, this isn’t all! Mercer | Mettl has got so much to offer that you don’t require wandering here and there. Besides recruitment solutions, it caters to different aspects of HR. Right from tracking the progress during training to contributing in Succession Planning, Leadership Development, and High Potential Identification, it has got everything covered. 360 Degree Feedback is what adds value to Mercer | Mettl’s assessment solutions.
One more unique offering we couldn’t miss mentioning is Mercer | Mettl’s ACDC, i.e., Assessment Center and Development Center. It provides virtual tools to employees with this platform to ensure effective employee development. It is an extraordinary blend of virtual and offline assessment center that cuts down the time spent on conducting effective ACDCs.
As we move towards wrapping the review, we would likely say that Mercer | Mettl is one-of-its-kind online examination and assessment platform that makes digital exams resilient to disruptions. With its robust platform, you can conduct and take tests just like normal examinations, whereas its anti-cheating and proctoring capabilities ensure 95% accuracy in detecting any malpractice during the exam. Moreover, it enables proctor-test taker communication in real-time; thus, providing paramount test taker experience.