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How to ensure results reliability when using Testportal?

Testportal offers many features that guarantee the credibility of assessment results:

  1. Restrictive time limits.

  2. Test-sharing with individual access codes or the dedicated Microsoft Teams app.

  3. Making the tests available to all respondents at the same, short period of time.

  4. Random questions, answers and randomizing of subsets of questions from all created for a particular test.

  5. Blocking returning to the previous questions.

  6. Non-intrusive proctoring with the "Honest Respondent Technology".

Testportal works with video calling software providers. Using them while sharing the tests gives you control close to standard, offline tests.

In this article, you will learn how to use the above features.

Why is it important to use these methods?

Using the methods presented in the text increases reliability and credibility of test results. Also, it makes respondents feel that the results reflect the true level of their knowledge and skills.

Mechanisms that guarantee results reliability

Restrictive time limits

Time limits allow you to set the deadline to complete the whole test or answer each question. You can also limit the test activation time period. These options are available in the Test configuration menu, in the Time settings tab.

Time is measured on the server-side, so it is virtually impossible to alter it.

First, decide how you want to measure time during the test. Consider types of questions and their difficulty level. Too much time to finish the test may reduce results reliability.

For more information about Testportal’s time limits, see this article.

Make your test available to everyone at the same (short) period of time

By giving your respondents a short period of time (identical for everyone) to finish their assessments, you limit cheating options.

You can find more information about the test's time settings and how to activate them here.

If you want to ensure the credibility of your results, make the assessment active only for a short period of time. All respondents start it at the same moment.

Combined with the randomization of questions and answers, a time limit and a navigation lock, you get a good level of security.

Providing test access with individual codes or via the dedicated Microsoft Teams app

By choosing to share the test with individual access codes or as a Microsoft Teams app, only respondents with the unique access code or members of the team (or chat) with whom you share the test can take the assessment. These help you maintain control over who takes the test and how many times.

Individual codes and test-sharing in the Microsoft Teams are ideal solutions for strict access control. With unique tokens, respondents can take the test only as many times as you allow, regardless of their browsers.

For more details on how to share a test using individual access codes and as a Microsoft Teams app, see this article.

Randomized questions, answers and drawing subsets of questions from created database

Testportal allows you to randomize the order of questions and answers for the assessment. This feature is available in the Test configuration menu, in the Test sets tab. When using this option, the questions you create are randomly selected when the test starts, based on the settings for each question category.

For example, when creating a complex language test, you can highlight questions related to vocabulary, grammar, or reading comprehension. Our platform can draw a specific number of questions from each category, and then create a unique test set for each respondent. In this case, the order of answers is also random.

You can create an extensive questions database and from it select a subset of questions for each test. Create many different questions, because together with the randomization feature, they significantly increase result reliability.

Blockade of returning to previous questions

Depending on the type of test, you can switch off the option to answer the questions in any order. Your respondents will have to answer questions without the possibility of returning to the previous ones. You can find this option in the Test configuration menu, in the Time settings tab, at the bottom of the screen. Answering each question when it is first displayed is set as the default option.

If you set a time limit for each question, this will be a default option too.

Non-intrusive control of the test thanks to the Honest Respondent Technology

With the Honest Respondent Technology, each click outside the test tab both in the browser and Microsoft Teams app is flagged as an incident.

Apart from live monitoring, the test owner receives information on each respondent that left the test. It is also possible to block the test if the respondent triggers incidents more times than the allowed limit.

You can read more about the technology here.

The list of useful Testportal mechanisms doesn’t end with the above-mentioned methods. You can also require your respondents to enable their devices' cameras before starting the test. In this case, supervision by the test owner (or other coordinating person) is necessary (similar to traditional offline examinations).

This is especially convenient when using Microsoft Teams, but works well with other video meeting software too.

We want Testportal access to be easy, without any external software. High availability and simplicity, however, come at a price. Our platform has no control over what the respondents installed on their computers and how their software may manipulate the website content.

That is why in addition to the Honest Respondent Technology, we also recommend using the test structure itself to discourage cheating. The randomization of questions, time limits and access restrictions can guarantee high reliability of assessment results. If your respondent wants a good result, they won't have time to attempt cheating.

The Honest Respondent Technology should be treated as an additional safeguard and dishonest behavior deterrent. The mechanisms we offer to increase the credibility of tests are built into the Testportal platform. They provide excellent value for money.

In cooperation with the Examus platform, more advanced options are also available, such as:

  • face recognition,

  • speech detection,

  • person identification,

  • respondent’s absence detection,

  • detecting the use of headphones and a smartphone,

  • detecting gaze direction,

  • synchronized recording of the webcam feed and the student's desktop,

  • recording sounds from the student's microphone, synchronous with the video,

  • second monitor and screen sharing detection,

  • oral exams proctoring.

If you are interested in any of these options, please contact us at contact@testportal.net.

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