Cirrus Hidden Gems: Harnessing the Power of The Invigilator Dashboard

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Exam security is a fundamental aspect of any assessment process. It ensures that the results accurately reflect each candidate’s skills and knowledge, thereby maintaining the credibility of the educational system. Without proper security measures, the value of exams diminishes, affecting not just individual candidates but also institutions and employers who rely on these assessments. 

When it comes to online exam security, both protecting exam content and cheating prevention are key. Cirrus features like Hierarchies and Role-Based Access Control excel in keeping exam content secure. In this article, however, we focus on cheating prevention and detection, and explore how Cirrus can assist you in this area.

Online exam invigilation in Cirrus

Cirrus provides three integrated approaches to prevent and detect cheating: on-site invigilation, remote invigilation and automated invigilation. Additionally, our Invigilator Dashboard streamlines each invigilation method by granting real-time access to crucial information. This allows you to take prompt action when necessary, ultimately enhancing the candidate experience. Furthermore, it provides direct access to recordings and log files for post-exam cheating detection.

First, let’s recap your options for online exam invigilation in Cirrus: 

On-site invigilation

On-site invigilation involves the physical presence of invigilators in the exam room to monitor candidates. The immediate advantage is the ability for invigilators to intervene on the spot to prevent cheating. The human element also adds a layer of psychological deterrence against cheating. However, this method comes with logistical challenges, requiring space and invigilators, which can increase operational costs. It’s also not ideal for large or geographically dispersed candidate pools. 

Remote invigilation

Remote invigilation employs technology to monitor candidates from a distance, using webcams and screen-sharing tools. This approach offers flexibility, accommodating candidates from various locations, and is cost-effective as it reduces the need for physical space and on-site staff. But it’s not without its drawbacks: The method is reliant on stable internet and functioning hardware, and intervention may be delayed. 

For organisations leaning towards remote invigilation, we offer integration with ProctorU. This partnership allows you to leverage ProctorU‘s expertise in remote monitoring while benefiting from seamless compatibility with our platform. The integration provides features like webcam monitoring and screen-sharing, ensuring a secure exam environment without the need for physical presence. By utilising ProctorU integration for remote invigilation, you can maintain exam integrity while offering the flexibility and cost-effectiveness that come with remote monitoring solutions.

Automated invigilation

Automated invigilation uses software to flag irregularities or suspicious behaviour during the exam. These flags are later reviewed by human invigilators. The method scales well, capable of handling large numbers of candidates simultaneously, and streamlines the invigilation process by flagging suspicious behaviour for later review. However, the drawback is that cheating, if it occurs, isn’t stopped in real-time, and the exam results may need to be invalidated or scrutinised further. It also lacks the human element that can deter cheating. 

For organisations wishing to take advantage of the convenience of automated invigilation, we offer integration with Proctorio. This software flags irregularities or suspicious behaviour during the exam, allowing for a focused post-exam review by human invigilators. By incorporating Proctorio into your assessment strategy, you can efficiently monitor large-scale exams without the need for real-time human oversight. This integration offers a scalable and streamlined approach to exam security, particularly useful when immediate intervention is not a priority.

Cirrus Invigilator Dashboard: Your Real-Time Online Exam Control Room

The new and improved Invigilator Dashboard is a real game-changer across all three cheating prevention methods – on-site, remote, and automated. So how does it help enhance the exam experience, both for your organisation and test-takers? 

During The Exam

Real-time insights are essential for both effective exam management and improving the test-taker experience. Immediate access to data like login status, submission rates, and technical issues enables quick interventions, upholding the integrity and fairness of the assessment. For administrators, this proactivity minimises delays and complications, ensuring a smooth exam process. For test-takers, the rapid resolution of any technical difficulties reduces stress and contributes to a more reliable and equitable testing environment. 

This is where the Invigilator Dashboard shines:

  1. Real-time Candidate Overview: The Invigilator Dashboard provides an overview of all candidates, who is logged, who isn’t and who has submitted their exam. This holistic view of candidate activity allows you to monitor the entire exam in real-time. It helps identify candidates who may not have started, those actively participating, and those who have completed their exams, ensuring effective exam management.
  2. Direct Candidate Communication: Communicate directly with candidates who are experiencing technical or other issues, fostering a supportive and stress-free exam environment. It allows for prompt resolution of concerns, ultimately improving the candidate experience.
  3. Instant Action: Pause exams on-the-fly, for example in cases of technical difficulties. This prevents unfair interruptions for candidates, maintains the integrity of the exam and ensures a fair assessment.
  4. Secure Login Codes: The option to generate secure login codes enhances the security of test centre exams by minimising the risk of unauthorised access. This ensures that only authorised candidates can participate.
  5. Quick Troubleshooting: The browser agent feature provides valuable context about the candidate’s system, aiding in troubleshooting. This information can be crucial for understanding user behaviour and resolving technical issues quickly.
  6. Data Export: The ability to export current statuses provides a snapshot of the exam situation at any given moment, useful for generating attendee lists and post-exam reviews in both remote and automated invigilation settings.
  7. Human Factor: The Invigilator Dashboard enhances the human element in deterring cheating and improving the candidate experience across all invigilation methods. Real-time monitoring discourages dishonest behaviour, while direct messaging from invigilators to candidates can add a reassuring touch. These features make exams both more secure and less stressful for test-takers.

After The Exam

Log files and direct access to recordings offer key insights for your post-exam review. 

  1. Log files: Accessible from the Invigilator Dashboard, the log files offer a wealth of information. For example, timestamps, access history, and IP address tracking provide insights into when and where candidates access the test, flagging unusual patterns such as sudden logouts or multiple logins from varied locations. Details about how candidates interact with exam questions are recorded. Unusual patterns, like rapid answering of difficult questions, may indicate cheating, etc. 
  2. Direct Access to Recordings: If you’re using the automated proctoring tool Proctorio, the Dashboard also provides direct access to the recordings after the exam is completed. This allows for immediate review and analysis of test-taker behaviour. 

Link to Knowledge Base

Selecting an invigilation method

Choosing the best invigilation method hinges on your organisation’s specific needs and constraints. For instance, if you’re conducting high-stakes exams that require immediate intervention to maintain integrity, on-site invigilation is likely the most suitable option. However, if your candidate pool is geographically diverse and you aim to reduce operational costs, remote invigilation offers the flexibility and cost-effectiveness you need. On the other hand, if you’re administering large-scale assessments and find real-time human monitoring impractical, automated invigilation, with its post-exam review feature, could be the most efficient choice. By carefully assessing your organisational requirements, you can select the invigilation method that best ensures a secure and fair exam environment.

No matter which invigilation method you choose, Cirrus’ Invigilator Dashboard enhances your ability to maintain a secure and efficient exam process. This dynamic tool enhances real-time exam management and elevates the test-taker experience, offering immediate access to crucial information. Whether you’re using on-site, remote, or automated invigilation, the dashboard facilitates quick interventions, minimising disruptions and ensuring fairness.

Beyond the technical solutions and advanced features, fostering a culture of integrity remains paramount. The most effective exam security measures are those that exist within a broader ethos of honesty and fairness. This culture not only deters cheating but also instils a sense of responsibility and ethical conduct in candidates, enriching their educational journey. By combining robust invigilation methods with a strong culture of integrity, you create an environment where assessments are both secure and meaningful.

For personalised guidance on the optimal strategy for your specific needs, please reach out to the Cirrus Customer Success Team.

If you haven’t yet adopted Cirrus, consider how its integrated features can streamline your invigilation process. For expert advice tailored to your unique needs, don’t hesitate to contact us! 

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Mathijs Urbanus
Mathijs heads up Cirrus' Customer Support Team. With his technical expertise and experience helping our diverse customers get the most out of Cirrus, he knows the platform like no other.
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