the e-Assessment Association

Preparing Exam Centres with the Shield of Social Distanced Assessments

Preparing Exam Centres with the Shield of Social Distanced Assessments

Education has been one of the vulnerable sectors massively impacted by COVID-19 pandemic. The schools and universities have been closed for a prolonged period putting a halt to School and university level exams and high-stake assessments. As the grip on lockdown rules gradually loosens, several institutes are preparing to conduct exams to avoid further disruption in the students’ lives.  

For institutes conducting the on-centre exams on a large scale, health and safety remains the primary concern. This is where TCS iON has been at the forefront in ensuring secure exam conduction and continuity of the academic calendar to safeguard the students’ future. 

TCS iON, a strategic unit of Tata Consultancy Services, has revolutionised examination by offering variants in on-centre and remote assessments for the diverse needs of institutes. Over 200 million candidates have been assessed so far with TCS iON’s Remote Assessments offering. 

With the advent of new safety standard, TCS iON realised that on-centre assessments need to be modified. TCS iON consulted health experts from the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) and Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) to define norms for hygiene maintenance and social distancing. And thus introduced SD-Assessments for streamlined exam conduction in a safe and hygienic test centre.

Introducing SD-Assessments for streamlined exam conduction in a safe and hygienic test centre.

In SD-Assessments, computer-based exams are conducted at the respective test centres. These examinations are monitored real-time through the TCS iON Command Centre. Question papers are created with 265-bit secure encryption and distributed on the day of the exam to avoid question paper leaks. 

Test centres need to ensure vigilant exam processes right from candidate verification and attendance, seat allotment to candidate supervision during and after the exam. But in the current scenario, human intervention would only add to the risk of virus contraction. This is why TCS iON has successfully implemented the right technology in SD-Assessments to ensure a secure and touch-free test centre in the new era. 

For instance, facial recognition replaces biometric verification that usually involves human touch and the possibility of contamination. Staggered, touch-free entry and security checks are enabled at the test centre. Each entrant is checked for COVID-19 symptoms through the Indian contract tracing app, Aarogya Setu. The test centre conducts non-intrusive document verification and registration. Similarly, touch-free identity verification is enabled before, during and after the exam.  

TCS iON offering ensures the test centres follow the most crucial rule – social distancing – at all times. Besides, hygiene vigilance is observed among candidates and exam staff which includes sanitisation before entering the exam hall.  

Similarly, SD-Assessments mitigates the candidate misconduct on the exam day with touch-free processes. Before the exam, the candidate’s picture is captured into the system in a touch-free manner and compared with the photograph submitted during the candidate’s admission. On data verification, the candidate is allotted a seat by the system based on random selection. This is done to avoid the possibility of the candidate sitting next to his/ her peer. 

When the candidate is performing the exam, his/ her non-intrusive images are sent to the TCS iON Command Centre. A mismatch between the image and the system information helps identify and eliminate exam impersonation. 

The system identifies suspicious behaviours such as the candidate answering faster than the standard time required for the questions. In this case, if the pattern continues during the exam, the command centre alerts the invigilator with the video feed of this candidate. These processes are performed in a non-intrusive manner without the candidate’s awareness. 

TCS iON’s Remote Assessments for exams anytime, anywhere.

Apart from SD-Assessments, TCS iON’s Remote Assessments is another assessment mode suited for the current scenario. This assessment provides the convenience for examinees and examiners to attend the exams anytime, anywhere. Here, the candidates are monitored with human and machine-based vigilance to eliminate potential exam malpractices. 

This is how technology-driven solutions and the rigorous safety standards ensure fair assessments and improved exam experience for the students in a safe environment. TCS iON is thus assisting several institutes and examination boards in conducting SD-Assessments with enhanced scalability, transparency, and security without compromising the safety standards. 

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