As a membership body, the Institute of Directors (IoD) promotes the highest standards of qualification among its candidates, who are practising or aspirant company directors driving businesses worldwide. Before working with TestReach, if a director wished to sit a Diploma exam, they were asked to at tend a test centre on a given day and time, and sit their exam for three hours using pen and paper. This was inconvenient for members with busy schedules, who were also not used to writing with a pen for hours. It caused onerous logistical issues for the IoD team – printing test papers, secure couriering of completed sheets, organising marking and dealing with multiple suppliers. It was time to modernise and offer their members something much more cutting-edge.
The IoD selected TestReach as the supplier that met their needs in one complete solution. The IoD could create exams using the assessment authoring system, including the ability to provide case study resources that candidates could highlight and annotate. The IoD required a secure technology that would allow them complete flexibility to run computer-based exams in test centres in key locations worldwide, while also offering candidates the option to sit their exam from their own home or office using remote invigilation. Remote invigilation (or online proctoring) is where the candidate is monitored over the Web during their exam by a trained TestReach supervisor using video, audio and screen share technology. This was of particular value for senior company directors, who welcome privacy when sitting their exams.
Having made the decision that computer based testing was the preferred option, the IoD sought to ascertain whether candidates and other key stakeholders with responsibility for quality assurance and risk management favoured this approach. Initially, a limited pilot rolled out in one geographical area, which was very successful. As a result the IoD moved to entirely computer-based testing using a combination of remote invigilation and online exams in test centres located all over the world, from Russia to Bermuda. Because remote invigilation offered such flexibility to members and was much simpler to manage, the IoD took the decision to phase out the use of test centres during 2017, so all exams globally are now run using remote invigilation.
The IoD’s qualifications, with all assessments delivered by remote invigilation, are accredited by the Scottish Qualifications Authority. The Certified Director exam has SQA level 8 accreditation and the Diploma in Directorship has SQA level 11 accreditation (equivalent to OFQUAL Level 5 and Level 7 respectively). The IoD team won the Team Contribution of the Year at the Federation of Awarding Bodies in 2016 and Best Institute at the EAssessment Awards in 2017 with their case around the successful implementation of computer based assessment and remote invigilation.
“We are now able to offer our exams with far more frequency,” said Teresa Jacobs, Head of Professional Standards and Assessment at the IoD. “The simplicity of a computer-based solution is that it has enabled us to break up exams into four component parts and offer them once a month with greater proximity to the period of tuition. Bearing in mind we offer courses on a weekly basis, this has been a fantastic benefit.”
The IoD has also welcomed the speed of marking exams and the impact of the real-time reporting capabilities. “A very significant benefit of computer-based assessment is that within minutes of the last candidate finishing their examination I am able to see the overall pass rate,” said Jacobs. “The other big positive is that a lot of data about the exam is gathered automatically, so we were very easily able to see exactly how long candidates were spending on each question, on each section and overall how long they were spending on the examination in total. That data in itself has triggered a thorough and robust assessment review and is taking us in all the right directions.”
When one IoD exam candidate was running behind schedule, he pulled his car over to the side of the road, set up a hotspot on his phone, and with the permission of the IoD was able to sit his certificate exam from his car, while being monitored by a trained supervisor in the TestReach HQ in Dublin. Although this is an unusual situation, it illustrates how much the world of assessment is changing, and the flexibility the IoD can now offer its members.
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