How to mitigate invigilation anxiety

Why is online invigilation so important nowdays? How to mitigate invigilation anxiety.

Online invigilation allows students to take exams remotely and through a secure platform or software to proctor the process. The current global situation amid COVID-19 has tremendously affected the way how companies and learning institutions provide their services to students. Therefore, e-learning and online remote assessments are gaining significance as never before. The demand for virtual proctoring has been growing at a rapid pace; therefore, learning centers and companies need to be flexible and adapt to cutting-edge technologies that have already disrupted the business of learning. Invigilation anxiety can be a real thing and addressed with the right communication and procedures.

There is a learning curve when it comes to online remote invigilation, both from an educators’ and students’ perspectives. Whereas educators have to embrace and integrate these technologies into their learning systems, students need to be prepared for the shift in their traditional visions and habits of learning and taking exams. Academic honesty and exam integrity are the foremost aspects of a solid learning environment. Since there are many challenges for students to be remotely proctored, which makes them biased, we want to shed light on online proctoring and the significance of new-generation secure assessments. 

Why students need online proctoring: key benefits

* The convenience of scheduling. According to a survey conducted among 339 students, 82% admitted specific scheduling as an extremely strong benefit. 
* Flexibility. What does it mean? To put it simply, stay at home and take the exams from your bedroom. Test takers have an opportunity to undergo exam assessments whenever and from anywhere they want. Freedom like never before. 
* Save time and money. With online proctoring, students do not need to spend time getting to the test centers; consequently, they reduce their travel expenses as well.
* Fast Results. Traditional paper-based examinations involve several steps of the evaluation process. Moreover, this process is prone to errors in contrast to online remote assessment, where results are calculated in an accurate and instant manner.  

Student Concerns

According to research, the reason for academic dishonesty and students’ cheating is the limited opportunities for surveillance. Remote invigilation is a solution for exam integrity; however, it can negatively affect students’ performance who have no confidence in the new paradigm of online assessments. 

That’s why it is crucial to address these issues beforehand by providing clear information to students. Let’s consider the primary concerns.

Personal Data Privacy

Students might be concerned about the anonymous nature of online invigilation since proctors get remote access to their data and recordings. However, that’s not totally true. Only your teachers and lecturers can watch your recordings, no one else has access to your data. The main goal of online proctoring is to prevent test takers from using cheat sheets, a calculator, course notes/slides, having someone else take their test for them, picking up if someone is feeding them answers during an assessment or the use any other resources from the internet. 

Tech Issues

Among students’ complaints, there are many related to technical issues such as incompatibility between personal computers and online invigilation platforms, difficulty setting up software, bad internet connection affecting the completeness of tests and password issues. Technical support is an important element that each organisation using proctoring software must prepare well for. Tech support must be available for students to alleviate student anxiety. 

Decision Making

There are also concerns about the decision-making nature. Students are worried about if online proctors and AI algorithms define the viability of their answers. Can this approach affect their future? Definitely no since assessors and technology are used to flag inappropriate misbehavior in order to obtain academic honesty and ensure exam integrity. The algorithms won’t indicate you are cheating if you take the test as intended so there’s nothing to worry about. 

Educators' Intrusiveness

Many students express concerns regarding distraction by their proctors. It is worth mentioning that there are the following types of online proctoring: live, recorded, and advanced automated online invigilation. Automated AI-powered systems such as IRIS Invigilation allow monitoring and detecting any suspicious student’s activity with audio and video recordings without involving assessors in the process. All reviewing of recordings is done post exam, not during. 

Invigilation Anxiety: how to ensure a positive student experience

Invigilation anxiety can negatively affect the performance of students’ exams. The unconventional nature of conducting online assessments might embarrass test takers due to the above-mentioned concerns and fears related to suspicious fraudulent detection. To anticipate students’ concerns, online exam providers need to instruct them properly, providing explicit, transparent, and precise information.  

1. Based on the students’ complaints about scheduling waiting times, instructors need to foresee these issues and explain them to students beforehand to prevent the additional levels of anxiety. 

2. In terms of proctor’s intrusiveness (in the case of live proctoring with a proctor involved in the process), instructors are recommended to address the issue of students’ worries about live monitoring “behind the screen.” It is essential to clarify the options available and their benefits. For example, automated online proctoring such as IRIS Invigilation offers no live proctor contact so there are a good mix of options available for suit your needs. Nevertheless, all these details need to be clarified with students. 

3. In order to prevent technical malfunction, we suggest familiarizing test takers with possible vulnerabilities and the steps they need to follow in this case. A test exam taken a week before the real exam will reduce technical and access issues. 

4. It is also essential for instructors to be familiar with guidelines about the service provider’s work and its specifics to be able to anticipate students’ concerns and find appropriate solutions.