Online Exams

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Contents

ONLINE EXAMINATION - Means and Resource Requirements

Desired Traits in Resources used

  • Publicly available Open Source Code
  • Actively developed and supported global userbase
  • Multi Lingual
  • Secure and quick patching of security holes
  • Physically secure premises for servers and test centers
  • Well connected test centers to the servers with adequate multi-modal redundancy
  • Use of well supported Open Source Applications for conducting online examinations

Advantages of Online Examinations

  • Economical
  • Logistically efficient
  • Real Time Evaluation
  • Objective Presentation and evaluation
  • Not Human dependent for evaluation

Dependencies for Online Examinations

  • Must evolve to the extent that it is implemented as a foolproof and trusted system.
  • Candidates should be adjusted to this mode of testing - mouse skills and minimal human assistance
  • Justification needed for suitability to gauge the merit of candidates
  • Careful though should go into shifting to an online exam system

Challenges

  • Question Bank
    • Development
    • Protection
  • Test Centres
    • Monitoring (CCTV, Invigilation, Attendance Machines, etc)
    • Authentication of Invigilators, Service Personnel and Test Takers
    • ID verification to effectively avoid faking
    • Virtual hall ticket and its reliable verification
    • Simultaneous Proctoring of tests at all centers
    • Randomization of questions and their choices grossly reduces cheating
    • Secure uploading of data to central servers (Firewalls, VPNs, etc)
  • CAPTCHA and Password protection at all critical stages - Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart

Stages

  • Pre Examination Activities - sufficient advertising and workshops to be conducted
  • Developing exclusive website for receipt of application and provide info on the online examination
  • Developing and managing application process to generate the Exam instance and tokens for it's usage
  • Dependable Registration Process online
  • Automated and human failover escalation fully manned Help Desk - publicise the tollfree number and provide adequate agents to answer calls in multiple languages
  • Automated Application Form Processing - manual verification of documents only on being selected
  • Registration fee - Arranging online payment gateway or payment via DD and other conventional negotiable instruments
  • Design & Development of Question Sets in soft format (whether English alone or also in regional languages)
  • Sample Tests for proficiency building online
  • Automated Admit Card Processing
  • Examination Coordination across all Authorized Test Centers
  • Administration of Examination and responsibility fixing for compliance, correctness and timely completion
  • Post Examination support in evaluation (when manual evaluation of certain parts are necessary)
  • Pre and Post Assessment for Psychometric properties Analysis
  • Declaration of Results both Online (Website, EMail, etc.) and Offline (Newspapers, Gazettes, Notice Board, Post, etc.)

Infrastructure Requisites

  • Initial Outsourcing of the servers with full management under policy direction from DGET
  • Local Webservers should be purchased or cloud servers leased if connectivity is dependable
  • Localhost Box servers for the exam centres where internet connectivity is not feasible.
  • Adequate computers installed in the examination centres - Any browser capable computer / SmartTab model is sufficient
  • All the examination centres and servers should be linked with dependable high speed internet connectivity with a minimum speed of 6 Mbps or above - multi-modal redundant connectivity is preferred
  • All local computers in each exam centres should be networked at high speeds
  • Uninterrupted power source to be provided at both the server centers and for all the equipment and lighting at the test centres as well
  • CCTV cameras maybe installed in all test centres for safety and as test monitoring measures.
  • 3 to 4 Printers, scanners and barcode scanners at all exam centres for attendance taking, report and signature scanning of candidates.
  • Computer furniture / chairs with power supply points
  • Generators with adequate automatic changeover and maintenance personnel at all server centres and at all test centres to manage long duration power outages

Manpower Requirements

  • Resource persons for server administration and maintenance at all server centres
  • At least 2 Technical experts at each exam centre for solving computer problems relating to
    • hardware
    • software
    • networking
    • interfacing
    • connectivity
  • At least 4-6 data entry operators at the server admin side for entry/conversion of question bank in to database format.
  • Scrutinisation of on-line application forms data for eligibility criteria though automated must be manually verified
  • Exam fee Payment reconciliation though automated must be manually verified and interfaced with external agencies (candidates, banks, accounts staff, etc) for resolution
  • Confirmation of selected candidates for on-line exam though automated must be manned for exception processing and for fine tuning the automation rules used for such processing
  • Development of application software for
    • online admission/confirmation
    • payment confirmation
    • hall ticket verification/attendance reporting
    • Declaration of results
    • Admission process / evaluation methodology etc.,
  • Help Desk Agents for assisting Candidates with issues
  • Examiners with computer knowledge for authentication of candidates from virtual hall ticket.

Documentation and Help Desk

  • Online application processing system
  • Selection criteria / eligibility /Confirmation
  • Hall Ticket / admission process
  • Evaluation Criteria (Weightage for answers)
  • Declaration of Merit List
    • Community / Category based priority - GEN / OBC / SC / ST / WOMEN ...
    • Quota for Sponsored candidates from State Directorate
    • Other Reservations quota
    • Other state candidates eligibility
    • Second / third Counseling for unfilled / vacancy / leftout candidates.

Learning from Experience - Fine Tuning

  • Currently no past experience in online examination system within organisation
  • Need to learn on the go for its Implementation / Procurement / Development of infrastructure
  • Building the examination centres and maintaining the servers within a short duration effectively
  • Possible initial outsourcing for the infrastructure facilities for at least 2 to 3 years while we spec out our target system and be ready to don the responsibilities envisaged.
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