The significance of disaster planning has been underscored by the COVID-19 restrictions. Testing options are one of the elements NASBA has been studying as it considers worst case scenarios, NASBA Executive Vice President and COO Colleen Conrad told the Regional Meetings. Remote proctoring, which would open the possibility of candidates testing from home, is now being studied by NASBA’s Computer-Based Testing Committee and the Executive Directors Committee as a backup plan should testing centers be unable to reopen at some future time.

While Ms. Conrad praised Prometric for their handling of closings and openings of test centers during the pandemic this spring, the question remains: What would happen if the virus comes back in the fall and the centers need to stay closed? “We need a backup,” she said. NASBA and the AICPA are discussing what would be necessary to have a remote proctoring alternative, which is not covered in the current contract with Prometric. “We would want to be sure the Boards are comfortable with it,” Ms. Conrad stated.

Although remote proctoring has been available for some time, it has not been considered an option for high stakes licensing examinations until recently. On June 16 Prometric announced the New Hampshire Insurance Department and the Utah Insurance Department will be using Prometric’s ProProctor remote proctoring as an alternative mode of testing for insurance licenses. ProProctor offers self-service exam scheduling, computer system requirements confirmation and test navigation, live test taker support, Windows and MacOC compatibility, and security measures including 100 percent live monitoring, live security agents, 360-degree environmental readiness checks and proactive protocols covering device checks.

On an interim basis, the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) began providing on-line testing for all three parts of the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) examination and for the Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA) in April.

The College Board administered at-home Advanced Placement tests in May for 3,000,000 high school students. Students were able to take these tests via computer, tablet or smartphone. They were able to either type and upload their responses, or write responses by hand and submit a photo via cell phone. However, on June 2 the College Board announced it “will pause on offering an at-home SAT this year because taking it would require three hours of uninterrupted, video-quality internet for each student, which can’t be guaranteed for all.” They also announced they would “continue to develop remote proctoring capabilities to make at-home SAT possible in the future.”

A few of NASBA’s June Regional Breakout Sessions were asked about their views on remote proctoring. Several participants cited computer problems students had experienced with such testing and some educators mentioned security issues. There were also concerns about potentially introducing barriers to testing for those economically disadvantaged. Several State Board members felt more information on what other professions are doing is needed.

President and CEO Ken Bishop advised the Board of Directors that several State Board executive directors had participated in discussion groups where they raised questions about remote proctoring and expressed significant concerns regarding its use except for an emergency situation.

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