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Taking school exams online for SLP

Silverline Prestige School (SLP) was established in 1987 as a premier institution in Ghaziabad, India. It caters to more than 2000 students, with a vision of promoting ‘Education beyond Tomorrow.’ 

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Industry

 Education  

Use Case

 Online Examination Platform, Proctoring 

What SLP achieved

Went online with 2000 students between class three to class 12th

No change in the test-taking experience for any examination


We have finally been able to achieve our dream of going 'paperless' with Mercer | Mettl. We feel we are now more accurate in handling parents' queries about their wards' performance as we have all the essential details in front of us. Mercer | Mettl's platform has proven to be user-friendly for most of our teaching staff and students.

Naman Jain

Director, Silverline Prestige School

Business Challenges

SLP is a progressive school and advocates employing learning technologies in the education ecosystem. Thus, as the pandemic set in and various governments globally suspended classroom learning to ensure the health and safety of all stakeholders, SLP was one of the few schools that could find its bearings -as it had already supplemented offline classes with online lessons.

 

However, SLP found conducting critical examinations at various levels a challenging proposition. It did not possess the online infrastructure to administer the following exams:

  • Periodic assessments/unit tests: (Classes 3-12th) Unit tests and routine assessments that the school gave every month
  • Midterms/final exams: (Classes 3-9th and 11th) These are the most critical examinations for junior classes as they determine students’ promotions to the subsequent academic terms.
  • Pre-boards: (Classes 10th and 12th) A crucial set of examinations that are given to prepare students for their pre-board and board exams.

SLP was prepared with a progressive pedagogy to assimilate new-age methods. But its mandate was complex. The requirement for the K-12 segment meant a smooth and equal-footed transition for every student, from class three to class 12th. Ensuring easy accessibility, security and experience for elementary, middle and high school students was as vital as warranting a fair, evidence-based assessment system. SLP also wanted to ensure that faculty, parents and caregivers transitioned to online exams seamlessly. The process shift couldn’t be burdensome or overwhelming for any stakeholder mentioned above.

 

So, how did SLP offer a robust and fulfilling academic experience for all its stakeholders? It’s a story worth exploring!

 

But let’s first deep-dive into some more challenges that SLP faced concerning its faculty, parents and students to ensure online exams effortlessly.

 

A dynamic platform as a support system 

 

SLP had lined up various examinations for different classes. It offered exams in different question paper formats, including MCQs, lengthy subjective questions, essay-type questions and quantitative questions. Similarly, each class had a different level of usage.

 

Hence, it mandated an end-to-end, well-rounded and well-tested online examination platform with the right features. It also sought privacy and the freedom to control its assessments –from test creation to delivery to reporting.

 

Proctoring software and training accessibility 

 

When SLP decided to give its exams from class three to class 12th online, it required a stricter focus on invigilation with proctoring software to ensure transparency and fairness. But it wanted its staff and faculty members to live proctor the applicants. Hence, it warranted a stellar combination of proctoring software. Besides, it wanted to train its in-house faculty, staff and admin on the software for a credible and smooth exam experience.

 

Ease of access for a diverse user base 

 

SLP necessitated a technical system that served a broader segment of users such as senior educators, younger children and newbie tech users. Subsequently, the stakeholders also involved parents and caregivers monitoring their younger children during the exams. It required a simple, efficient and convenient system for them too. The idea was to make everyone equally comfortable with the new technology, which could happen only by enabling an easy-to-use, safe and functional platform.

 

Fair test-taking experience for students 

 

SLP knew that expecting every student to type fast and manage their efficiency online would be discrimination, given their age and distinct paper formats. Therefore, it scouted for a solution that would allow students a fair writing experience in their preferred form without any complications. Additionally, it expressed the need for the cross-device compatibility feature to help students to access the exam links on phones, tablets and laptops.

 

Custom asks for integrity 

 

SLP needed to ensure the credibility and success of the entire examination exercise so that it could share evidence-based and transparent results with the parents. Hence, it wanted the ability to keep a count of each student’s integrity score. Besides, a robust anti-cheating mechanism to ensure students attempting the test did not resort to unwarranted means.

 

Discovering Mercer| Mettl

 

The market offered SLP an extensive menu of online examination platforms and proctoring providers, which the management narrowed before shortlisting Mercer | Mettl. Subsequently, it reached out to Mercer | Mettl’s team and inquired to understand more about its services as it believed the team could deliver on their expectation and align itself to its education, assessment and integrity goals.

 

The management mandated that Mercer | Mettl’s solution covered all loopholes that occur during an online examination process. Mercer | Mettl’s team knew a one-size-fits-all approach would not cater to the situation or the stakeholders. So, it custom modified before scheduling a trial of its Examine and proctoring service for the administration.

 

A successful pilot run assured the management of Mercer | Mettl’s system’s robustness, features and usability. But SLP wanted to assuage all stakeholders’ concerns. Thus, Mercer | Mettl’s team promptly lined up multiple demonstrations to accustom every user to the system. It took the stakeholders one month to understand the workings of the system. Mercer | Mettl and SLP formed a collaborative partnership soon then after.

Solution

Mercer | Mettl EXAMIN- The online proctoring and examination system 

 

Mercer | Mettl’s team addressed SLP’s problems by enabling its futuristic online solution, ‘the online examination platform’ - an ideal value proposition that met SLP’s varied needs, depending on the examination’s objective.

 

The management and the team divided the exam into three-four phases that stretched to a few months. SLP introduced something new to the students every few weeks to smoothen their experience and usage. Thus, the entire process occurred smoothly.

 

Here’s how Mercer | Mettl solved SLP’s significant challenges:  

 

The team employed Mercer | Mettl’s Examine, a proficient and end-to-end online examination software system, enabling SLP to plan and execute end-to-end virtual assessments at scale. The robust platform supported minimal internet bandwidth, high-quality governance and hands-on control over the process. With a proven track record of conducting 200,000 successful proctored assessments in a day, the prowess of the technology ensured an unparalleled experience for SLP’s large-scale requirements. Simultaneously, a state-of-art proctoring combination offering granular and broad insights into the exam-taking process ensured a seamless exam roll-out.

 

Here’s how SLP benefitted from the platform:

 

Easy to create and host the exam   

 

Mercer | Mettl’s platform was user-friendly, easy to navigate and catered to all levels of technical literacy. The well-defined setting enabled faculty to build purposeful tests and exams quickly. Here’s how it helped SLP.

  • SLP gained access to a rich repository of 26 different question paper formats for various subject areas. This access enabled the faculty to create and upload exam papers in their specific typology of questions - essay-type tests, quantitative questions, subjective and multiple-choice questions.
  • The faculty could create class-wise, user-wise accounts, otherwise unavailable.
  • The faculty even had the option of ‘random question selection’ that helped prevent any bias while setting the papers.
  • It had the feature to ‘time the sections,’ meaning students had to complete and submit parts of the exam papers within a stipulated time or lose out on marks. This arrangement replicated a physical exam center experience and drastically reduced the risk of cheating.

 

Cross-device compatibility 

 

Mercer | Mettl’s team identified students with access to different digital tools for writing the exam. This process assisted them in providing cross-device compatibility to the exam-takers, with easy access to the exam link from any device (phones, tablets and laptops). This feature bolstered the stakeholders’ confidence in Mercer | Mettl’s services.

 

QR Code Scanning for answer sheets  

 

Mercer | Mettl team provided a custom-made solution for SLP’S young exam-takers, who were explicitly used to writing by hand. This feature was called QR Code Scanning. Here is how it eased the test-taking experience:

  • During an exam, students wrote the answers on physical answer sheets, after which they scanned the documents from their phones and uploaded the images onto the system. It was done using QR codes.
  • SLP used this feature for diverse types of exams involving long answer writing, drawing, diagram-making, or equation-solving, which was otherwise difficult to manage online.
  • Those students accessing this feature were given additional time toward the end of the exam by the faculty to scan and upload their answers.
  • Mobile phones were being used for this purpose. Hence, strict invigilation was ensured to negate any wrongful use, providing a level-playing field for all candidates.

 

The flexibility of live proctoring  

 

Mercer | Mettl’s team trained SLP’s faculty, administration and staff members to serve its mandate of having its faculty and staff proctor every exam. This training helped them internalize the workings of Mercer | Mettl’s online proctoring tools.

 

Here’s how:

  • The faculty got one-to-one and one-to-many proctoring views available to monitor students remotely, from start to finish, and negated any unfavorable incident.
  • Proper training equipped faculty-cum-proctors to identify if the students had family members helping them. They could also isolate distracted students during the exams.
  • The staff also had an added feature of pausing /stopping /resuming the exam in real-time, along with a live chat option, to solve concerns and warn the students.
  • The offline availability of the recorded video footage was also available to select authorized members to review the recording and the raised flags.

 

Advanced AI proctoring  

 

Mercer | Mettl enabled advanced AI proctoring to help SLP identify certain defaulters and incidents to manage the overall integrity of the exams. The brand’s futuristic AI algorithm trained with more than 2.8 million proctored assessments efficiently detected up to 18 dynamic digressions during various exams. With over 95% accuracy, the intelligent algorithm helped SLP’S in-house proctors to flag suspicious cases, such as the non-visibility of face/ presence, detection of mobile phone, presence of an additional person, distracting movements, etc.

 

Integrity report generation  

 

Mercer | Mettl’s team activated its proprietary algorithm- ‘the Credibility Index’ for SLP students’ integrity score requirement. This exclusive feature provided a validated integrity score of every exam-taker after inputs from Mercer | Mettl’s automatic, live proctoring flags and the test-finish status.

  • With valuations such as high, medium, and low, the faculty could quickly identify and filter out candidates who might have resorted to cheating.
  • It simultaneously guaranteed the authenticity and validation of the online proctoring process.
  • The teachers could handle parents’ queries regarding their wards’ performance efficiently and accurately by showcasing the answer sheets and the Credibility Score from the system.
  • All this was possible with a click, also ensuring unprecedented transparency.
  • With lesser hiccups and real-time actionable insights, SLP maintained its next academic session’s timelines with ease.

The Impact

Mercer | Mettl provided a smooth online transition for the K-12 students, their parents/guardians, and teachers.  All this while ensuring that SLP could focus on the user experience, reduced human effort and seamless assessments. The process was fair to all, despite the new format and delivery of exams.

Some interesting highlights include: 

  • Close to 2000 students between classes three to class 12th took glitch-free exams online.
  • SLP gave unit tests, half-yearly and final exams for the K-12 segment online
  • It took only one month to well-acquaint all stakeholders with the platform. 
  • No student was deprived of the online exam-taking process.
  • A seamless exposure ensured no change in the test-taking experience for the students as it replicated and created a center-based exam experience. 
  • A seamless exposure ensured no change in the test-taking experience for the students as it replicated and created a center-based exam experience. 
  • System-generated granular reports on the exam-takers' integrity helped maintain the exams’ sanctity. 
  • Continual technical support enabled the faculty to schedule exams at any given time. 

Way forward

 

SLP has chosen to employ Mercer | Mettl’s platform and proctoring solutions for the foreseeable future. Thus, a variety of exams will be given online in the subsequent year as well. This decision by SLP is a testimony to Mercer | Mettl’s platform’s unmatched prowess, reliability and robustness.

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