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Risks of Online Proctoring for High-Stakes Exams: Balancing access with security

The current COVID-19 pandemic has altered nearly every aspect of our lives, including the way certification exams are conducted. Social distancing requirements now mean limited access to testing centers like Pearson VUE that provide the security necessary for high stakes exams. To quickly remedy the situation, some are turning to solutions that allow individuals to test online from their own homes. This method usually relies on the use of online proctors to keep those tests secure.

While online proctoring adds a layer of test security, the decision to put the exams online may make the exams vulnerable to significant security threats that undermine the validity and trustworthiness of the test itself. In fact, these are two of the greatest security threats: 1) Proctors may not be able to detect when individuals are stealing test content and 2) Proctors may not be able to stop individuals who are cheating using pre-knowledge. If these threats can’t be detected by online proctors or proctors working at testing centers, then extensive damage to an examination program may result.

At this time, AMT is not planning to allow its high-stakes certification exams to be offered outside the environment of the secure test site. The risk goes beyond the potential for a security breach in the near term as we partner with Pearson VUE and find new ways around the limits of a pandemic: Once test content security is breached, it may damage the reputation of all AMT credentials despite the fact they were earned in an honest and ethical way.

Protecting the validity and trustworthiness of the exam is a commitment AMT makes to both the applicant and to each of the 100,000 actively certified individuals who hold these credentials . It is imperative for AMT to preserve the reputation and recognition our professional members have attained and that employers seek.

Balancing security with access

Accessibility is the other side of the balancing act. In order to maintain the AMT standards for integrity and security, AMT is working diligently to increase access while ensuring that the testing experience provides the quality credential that both the public and our members expect and deserve.

See more about AMT exam security.

Read about AMT adapting to keep certification accessible during a time of social distancing to manage spread of a pandemic.

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