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How Biometrics Can Be Used to Authenticate Online Exams

  • 2 Min Read

Last Modified: Jan 7, 2022

One of the biggest challenges associated with moving high-stakes assessments that require proctoring to virtual environments is verifying that the right test takers are completing the right exams. Biometrics have become a useful tool for organizations that need to maintain academic integrity online and at scale. They’re often facilitated through learning platforms and used in conjunction with proctoring solutions.

Understanding How the Process Works

Biometric technologies are a type of body-based security that authenticates a person’s identity based on physical characteristics including facial structure, iris patterns, and voice. Learn how Biometrics can eliminate the risk of regulatory non-compliance, complaints or lawsuits.

One of the most common ways for online exam proctoring software to validate a test taker’s identity is using images of the person’s face. Depending on the platform, the process could look something like this:

  • First, the users take a real-time photo of their face using their device’s webcam.
  • Next, they’re prompted to take a picture of a piece of approved ID, like a driver’s license.
  • The image on their ID is then compared to the one they took at the beginning.
  • Participation can be monitored throughout the exam according to a custom set of standards.
  • Finally, the whole session is either cleared or invalidated according to session rules.

There are two important things to emphasize here. First, authentication doesn’t have to happen only once. It can be a continuous process that takes place throughout the exam so if suspicious behavior does take place, the system can flag it and allow instructors to follow up.

Second, a lot of these functionalities may be built in, but giving instructors some flexibility can be important too. For example, this could be letting them set preferences for things like whether test takers can access outside applications or webpages during the exam.

Realizing the Benefits

For test takers, online proctoring helps make the process more convenient. They don’t have to travel to an in-person testing center. Plus, they can get their results and feedback more quickly to help reinforce and lock in the knowledge they’ve acquired.

The increased flexibility is important for instructors, but it also can help them do more by automating routine tasks so they can focus on creating and delivering the most effective assessments.

For your organization, it solves immediate and long-term needs. Virtual exam proctoring that’s authenticated by biometric ID ensures you can deliver on your number one priority: maintaining integrity. Looking out further, enabling people to take high-stakes exams anywhere and anytime can help you reach a wider audience and drive growth.

Online proctoring can help you break down geographic barriers and make examinations more flexible—without sacrificing security or standards. Check out our recent blog to learn more about it.

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