Case Study: How Ireland’s Road Safety Authority leveraged live remote assessment technologies to augment in-centre test delivery
As communities and organisations around the world continue to combat the on-going threat to public health and welfare posed by the COVID-19 coronavirus, the impact of safety regulations and policies on personal mobility and work force entry can be significant. Well-intentioned policies to safeguard personal wellbeing by limiting social interaction can have unintended consequences in these two areas of life. Learn how Ireland’s Road Safety Authority (RSA) leveraged live remote assessment technologies to augment in-centre test delivery for their driver theory testing program to support candidates learning to drive and those seeking professional employment by taking higher category professional tests.
The impacts of the novel coronavirus have been far-reaching—permeating nearly every area of society and affecting all facets or our daily lives, including our personal mobility. Prior to the pandemic, people in the Republic of Ireland, as elsewhere, generally took for granted the ability to secure something as basic and necessary as a driving licence. However, the pandemic, and the subsequent government responses to limit the further transmission and spread of the virus, changed all of that.
The Road Safety Authority (RSA), Ireland’s government agency charged with driver testing and licensing as well as developing and administering policies and regulations aimed at promoting safety and well-being on the nation’s roads, faced a daunting challenge. The RSA provides driver testing services to more than 150,000 candidates per year. Each individual is required to sit a computer-delivered driver theory test, and if successful apply for a Learner Permit, complete a mandatory Essential Driver Training program and finally, demonstrate practical competency through an on-the-road practical test. While test preparation could be completed in a safe, socially distanced manner, the administration of driver theory exams takes place across 43 strategically placed testing locations throughout Ireland. The government’s introduction of Level 5 pandemic restrictions for much of the past several months prevented access to these testing facilities, as the driver theory test was not considered an essential service. The impact on society was significant, creating a significant backlog of more than 80,000 candidates waiting for an opportunity to sit the driver theory test, including those seeking a commercial license for professional employment.
To address this pressing social need, the RSA, in collaboration with Prometric, developed a plan to introduce secure remote-proctored testing for the professional driver cohort of the theory testing program. To be successful, the plan needed to address several core requirements. Firstly, the platform used for online administration and the presentation of test content needed to provide a similar testing experience to that in a standard test centre. Next, the tools provided to support candidates throughout the candidate journey, from registration and scheduling through test administration, needed to be the same as currently used. The testing platform needed to be able to capture all content associated with the testing event, including the individual’s photo to be applied to the score report. Importantly, the solution needed to comply with European data privacy and data security regulations which form part of RSA’s and Prometric’s legal agreement.
Over the course of an accelerated six-week window, the RSA and Prometric teams successfully completed all necessary activities to launch the professional driver theory exams on the ProProctor™ remote assessment platform. RSA test content was already managed and maintained in the EU instance of the Prometric Assessment System, eliminating the need to export test content or republish exams in a separate system. Delivery to candidates opting for the remote assessment would be on the same testing platform with the exact same look, feel and functionality as those who tested at in-centre locations. Prometric recruited, trained and certified EU-based proctors, readiness agents and security agents to provide live proctoring support and monitoring services to the RSA test candidates. Appointments were set-up in the production systems, and RSA candidates used the same registration and scheduling platform to book their remote proctored event as in-centre testing appointments. This system ensured that only EU-based staff were assigned to provide services to the RSA candidates.
As a direct result of these efforts, as of mid-December approx. 600 Irish citizens seeking a licence for professional driving categories have been able to complete their theory testing requirements in the comfort of their own home and move forward along the path towards employment. Based on this initial success, RSA leadership is looking to expand this service offering to include other categories of learner driver theory tests in the very near future.