CHT Exam: Ten Common Questions About Live Remote Proctoring

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Posted by Martin Walsh, OTR/L, CHT on 08/26/2020

COVID-19 has affected certification programs globally and resulted in the closures of numerous “brick and mortar” testing centers around the world. Although test centers have started to open again, they are doing so at a reduced capacity in order to adhere to social distancing requirements. For this reason, the Hand Therapy Certification Commission board of directors started to explore options and contingency plans for the certification exam back in April.

Protecting the integrity of the Hand Therapy Certification Examination is one of HTCC’s top priorities. After a thorough investigation with our testing vendor PSI Services as well as our testing consultant and psychometrician and our credentialing association The Institute for Credentialing Excellence, HTCC’s board of directors felt confident that Live Remote Proctoring (LRP) was a secure option for administering the exam. The HTCC board made the decision to initiate LRP starting in 2021. Due to the high demand for remote proctoring by credentialing organizations, our testing vendor will not be able initiate this service for the November 2020 examination.

Many factors were carefully considered in making this decision. Not only will live remote proctoring offer a testing alternative in the event of test center closures, but it will also benefit those who wish to socially distance themselves and therapists who live in remote areas or overseas where access to traditional test centers is limited.

In 2021, HTCC will offer a hybrid approach to test delivery and candidates will have the option to either test at home or in a traditional test center environment.  

Below are ten common questions and answers about live remote proctoring:

  1. What is live remote proctoring? Live remote proctoring (LRP), sometimes called live online proctoring is an online proctored exam that can take place in a candidate’s home. A remote proctor monitors a candidate from a remote location and is not physically located in the same room. The proctor is dedicated to monitoring and recording the behavior of one or more candidates in real-time as they take their exam.
     
  2. Is live remote proctoring secure? Yes. With the application of innovative technology, online proctoring is increasingly seen as secure as physical test centers. Security is largely the same between online proctoring and test centers.
     
  3. Do pass rates differ between online proctored and test center proctored exams? A growing body of research supports a well-developed hybrid program involving test centers and online proctoring. Further research shows that pass rates are comparable for online proctored and onsite proctored administration of the same exams.
     
  4. How does it work? Candidates have the option to test at a traditional test center or to test at home via live remote proctoring. If they choose to take the exam by live remote proctoring, the steps are as follows:
  • The proctor meets and greets the test taker who shows their photo ID to the camera and takes a selfie while the proctor is observing. The photographs are scrutinized and compared in order to authenticate the ID. The test taker is also required to complete a room scan by rotating their device through 360 degrees so that the proctor can check the test location.
  • The exam is then opened and delivered through a secure browser. The secure browser does not allow screen captures, dual computer monitors or internet browsing.
  • During the exam, the webcam is left on to show the immediate surroundings in the room. If the proctor sees anything suspicious, he or she can either give the candidate a warning or pause the test to investigate further.
  1. How are candidates monitored while taking an examination at home? While observing candidates and listening to the environment, the proctor makes comparisons to a list of rules. Some of these rules will cause the proctor to send a warning through the chat interface and are considered a minor violation. Violation of other rules are considered major violations and may result in the proctor closing the examination session because of a threat to examination security.

    The proctor documents each minor and major violation.  If a test-taker accumulates two minor violations, the third becomes a major violation causing the proctor to end the examination session. Consequences of a major violation result in termination of the examination, forfeiture of the examination fee and an investigation into the reported misconduct
     

  2. What prevents a candidate from searching the internet or taking screen shots of the exam questions? The exam is released to the candidate in a secure, lock-down browser. PSI Bridge (PSI’s platform) has a built-in secure browser feature. The secure browser is designed to be both non-invasive and highly effective at preventing candidates from using their computer to cheat or distribute exam questions. The security features can block access to other browsers, screen sharing, screen recording, remote access, virtual machines, chat tools, communication tools, hot-keys, copy/paste, right mouse click menus, dual/extended monitors, and much more.

    PSI can completely block access to other browsers (and thus access to any other website).
     

  3. What prevents a candidate from using their cell phone or having an open textbook on the table? During the administration of the exam, communication between the proctor and candidate is limited to type chat. The proctor can view and hear the candidate, but the candidate cannot view or hear the proctor. Proctors will be focused on the exam policies set by HTCC and detecting suspect behavior such as unusual eye movements, removing oneself from the field of vision, making atypical noises or the presence of another individual in the exam room. For example, if a proctor witnesses a candidate attempting to use their cellphone during their exam, they may click a button that immediately pauses the exam, revoke access to the exam, or end the exam.
  1. Is online proctoring off-putting (unpleasant) for candidates? No. PSI’s research shows virtually no difference between how candidates rate the experience of onsite or online proctoring. Examinees rated online proctored exams favorably and ratings of testing conditions were virtually uncorrelated with exam performance.
     
  2. What is the cost to the candidates? There is no added cost to candidates to take advantage of live remote proctoring
     
  3. Will online proctoring be available for the May 2021 examination? HTCC hopes to offer LRP for the May 2021 exam; however, due to the high demand for remote proctoring by certification programs worldwide, HTCC is on a waiting list, and we are awaiting a 2021 launch date by PSI.

As regions move in and out of lockdown and social distancing, the ability to offer a hybrid approach to test delivery is imperative for our exam candidates and for the CHT credential. If you have any concerns or questions about LRP, please contact the HTCC office at 916-566-1140 or email at info@htcc.org. PSI has also created a video to show candidates what to expect with remote proctoring.