The Results Are In: A Review of the NCCA’s 2021 LRP Report
Last spring, as the COVID-19 crisis swept across the globe, credentialing providers turned to remote proctoring when major brick-and-mortar testing centers closed to address safety concerns. As organizations embraced a digital revolution, remote proctoring instantly became the primary way to offer secure assessments while ensuring that credentialing could go on uninterrupted.
But while remote proctoring provided a critical stopgap, questions still remained about its use in the credentialing context. Could emerging technologies provide a comparable level of service, security and integrity as the traditional in-person model? Are there even some advantages? Could we continue with the model even as society re-opens?
In recent years, the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) – whose standards have defined quality practices for certification organizations for over three decades – had already begun exploring the ways in which new approaches to assessment could expand access. The challenge was how to provide the same level of evaluation and security as an in-person exam session, but with increased access.
The NCCA’s exploration of remote proctoring was already underway before the pandemic struck. In mid-2019, the association began a study to determine whether its standards could be met using remote proctoring – and concluded that live remote proctoring (LRP) can be a viable solution for test-takers and test sponsors. Here’s how the study worked, and some more detail on what the NCCA found.
Participating organizations provided the NCCA with information on the performance of test items, test forms, and candidates, in order to research the differences between test delivery and proctoring models. Examples of the criteria analyzed by the NCCA included score reliability, exam process descriptions, proctor training, protocols for detecting improper testing behavior, accommodation requests, retesting policies, and data security procedures.
• Candidate Experience
Many candidates specifically noted the comfort of a home environment, the lack of travel time and costs, and the flexible scheduling all added to a better experience. The results of the survey from LRP candidates were often comparable with test-takers who took the test via other delivery and proctoring methods.
• Privacy and Security
Content protection and data privacy are, of course, paramount to the assessment experience, so naturally it was one of the NCCA’s key points of analysis. Initial findings from their report suggest that LRP provides comparable privacy and security protocols to in-person proctoring, and that it can in fact offer benefits over traditional models. One unique security benefit noted in the study was that a remote proctor may oversee fewer candidates than an in-person proctor and thus be in a better position to identify suspicious activity.
Some participants in the study reported being uncomfortable sharing views of their personal space, but it is likely that this was the first time many of the candidates had taken an LRP exam. Examity provides guidance to test-takers so that candidates fully know what to expect during the testing experience, as well as and how their data will be used and stored.
• Communication and Administration
Many candidates in the study reported that their proctors were calm, supportive, patient, and knowledgeable. While some approaches leave test-takers starting the exam late or anxious, Examity provides clear instructions about what to expect, what information will be needed to log in, and how to contact someone for help.
Overall, the NCCA’s findings suggest that Live Remote Proctoring (LRP) provides a simple, effective, and progressive alternative to traditional in-person proctoring, and have approved its use to meet accreditation standards. Their research will play a critical role in helping certification providers navigate the recovery from the pandemic, and provide more flexibility and support to test-takers in an increasingly digital world.
Link to NCCA standards: https://www.credentialingexcellence.org/p/cm/ld/fid=530&blogaid=616
Today, as the world begins its slow recovery from the pandemic, it’s become increasingly clear that many of the new ideas adopted over the past year will remain part of the “new normal.” For many credentialing providers, that means remote proctoring will continue to be integral to their post-pandemic strategy. How can proctoring solutions support that strategy, in ways that both respond to providers’ immediate needs and help them prepare for an increasingly digital future?