When Rekha Sethi enrolled for the Independent Director's test, she experienced how Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) conducts the test through remote proctoring. As Director General of the All India Management Association (AIMA), Rekha Sethi had been willing to introduce remote proctoring technology for the Management Aptitude Test (MAT) exam. But immediate pressings take precedence and life goes on. However, the outbreak of COVID-19 and resultant lockdown changed that. It has leapfrogged the education sector to what was till last month called 'the future of education'.
As social distancing has become a necessity, AIMA will now introduce the option of MAT in "Remote Proctoring Internet Based Test (IBT)" mode. "We were already thinking about implementing this technology but COVID made us do it faster," says Sethi.
In a remotely proctored exam, there is no need to have test centres, invigilators, or fixed exam dates. The candidate will need a computer with a webcam and will have to apply for the exam slot from their website. During the exam, the AI-linked webcam is used to record the candidate's activities and movement during the test and ensure its completion in a fair manner.
The MAT exam is a national level test for over 600 Business Schools (B-Schools) to screen candidates for admission to MBA and allied programs. Conducted four times a year (February, May, September and December) in 60 cities, MAT was in 'Paper-Based' and 'Computer-Based' modes and now it will have this third option of 'remote proctoring'.
Over one lakh students take this test annually. It will do away with the need for candidates to travel to another city to give the exam and parents will not have to worry about sending students to exam centres.
Currently, for every 20 students, in addition to the AI, there will be a human proctor looking at the live streams from the students. If the AI or the human proctor suspects unethical behaviour, it will send a warning to the student. If the student doesn't follow it, it can cancel the test. Sethi says this is much more secure than the physical exam hall where there is one invigilator for 60 students, or more.
She adds that it will also reduce the chances of test papers getting leaked as it will be the computer that will randomly determine the test to be given and no transportation of physical papers will be required. If there is demand for this technology, it will also reduce the cost of conducting exams.
But, will it be completely online? "We will slowly graduate to that phase where the candidate can give it anytime and I don't think that it will take that long," says Sethi. She adds, "I am a firm believer of doing what the market demands. So, if we see demand for paper-pencil test, we will keep it but if we get the feedback that it is not worth it, we will transition to the new method. For now, we will let the market make the choice."
AIMA will also offer its remote proctoring tool to companies which hold assessment exams. They will be given the choice of AI-only or in assistance with human proctoring. AIMA partnered with assessment technology firm Mercer Mettl for the technology.