Formal exams are one of the oldest and most trusted ways that the academic and professional worlds try to test a person’s knowledge. Whether you’re a student trying to pass a course or a worker receiving training, it is important to gauge how much you know about the subject at hand. Making sure each exam is fair to everyone taking it is equally important, however. As a proctor overseeing something like this, there are a few ways you can ensure fairness.
1. Proctor Training
Adequate training for overseers is essential to making sure standards of fairness happen across the board. Officials are impartial and should have a deep understanding of any specific testing procedures that will be in place. They should be able to explain rules to each candidate in a way that is easy to comprehend. There may be specific issues that are acceptable to discuss with exam candidates, but some subjects may be off-limits.
2. Clear Outlines
It is easier to maintain fairness if test-takers have a concise understanding of precisely what is expected of them before an exam begins. Any outline that is listed for an exam should give a broad and clear overview of the exam’s major themes. If you make use of online exam proctoring software, there are templates that can include this information. It can also display time limits, and what percentages of different question types the test will have. Utilizing this proctoring software can help minimize error while also flagging any suspicious activity.
3. Security Measures
The security in place during an exam should be designed to prevent early access to test questions or answers. While some forms of notes might be authorized for particular tests, there are unacceptable forms of note-taking that proctors should watch for in the interest of fairness. Steps should be taken to make sure that unfair collaboration between participants is not possible. These measures help to ensure fairness for everyone, but they also make sure that test scores are accurate and not thrown off by mitigating factors. Be sure to have clear guidelines in place to handle suspected cheating.
4. Equipment Testing
If an organization plans to provide equipment for participants to use, it should be in proper working order well before the exams begin. Make sure all equipment is tested thoroughly and operates as it should. If candidates will be expected to use something like a new system or software, they should get some time to go over how it works, and proctors should help them understand these operations before an exam starts.
Proper examinations can seem like something of a hindrance to some people, but making sure everyone has adequate knowledge is crucial to moving on academically or advancing professionally. These tips for fairness attempt to make certain that only a true lack of either knowledge or skills are the only things that could bar someone from advancement. In addition, it is wise to have contingencies in place for anyone who may need special considerations. Exceptions like this might include things like extra time on a writing portion of a test.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan