Established in 1885, the Insurance Institute is committed
to the professional development of over 17,500 members and
provides both education and training to its membership
base. Its qualifications are accredited by Atlantic
Technical University. The Institute’s Certificate in
Insurance Product Advice (APA) and Certificate in
Insurance Practice (CIP) qualifications meet the Central
Bank’s Minimum Competency Code (MCC) requirements,
enabling graduates to provide accredited advice to
The Institute delivers around 7,000 exams per year. Prior
to moving online, traditional paper-based exams were
delivered through test centres, situated around the
country. This required candidates to travel to the
centres. The Institute also had to manage the logistics of
exam centre set-up and the circulation and collection of
paper-based exam papers and scripts. With the COVID-19
pandemic, the exams transitioned online with remote
proctoring. It was essential that the security, integrity
and professionalism of the exam process be maintained at
the highest level.
Following careful due diligence, The Insurance Institute
partnered with TestReach. A major factor in the decision
was the fact that TestReach provided exam creation
functionality and live proctoring within an all-in-one
application. TestReach enabled the Institute to author
questions and exam papers on the system. The exams could
then be delivered with supervision by TestReach
invigilators, who are familiar with the underlying
software. This helps to ensure a professional and
supportive service is provided.
The TestReach live proctoring service delivers a level of
supervision ideal for the high-stakes nature of these
exams and the secure computer lockdown feature prevents
access to other applications for the duration of the exam.
Candidates are required to perform a pre-test in order to
confirm connectivity and system compatibility, which helps
ensure candidates are relaxed and technically prepared for
TestReach provides various accessibility options for
candidates with special needs, including alternative exam
canvasses / colour schemes, reasonable adjustments and the
facilitation of scribes if required. The Institute were
also attracted to the TestReach comprehensive marking
module – over time, all marking of constructed-response
questions was transitioned to more streamlined management
within the platform.
The Institute surveys all candidates after completing
their exams and feedback regarding the TestReach exam
process has been overwhelmingly positive. Candidates
welcome the convenience of not having to travel to an exam
centre, and pass rates have remained consistent with
pre-Covid test centre exams. Graham Kavanagh,
QA/Assessment Manager at the Institute, said
“Candidates have been delighted with the online exam
experience and support from TestReach. Our feedback
surveys consistently show a 95% positive approval
rating. TestReach is an intuitive all-in-one system that
has given us a lot of flexibility and the approach is
more innovative for candidates and the Institute.
Switching to online assessment took hard work and
careful planning from our perspective but has ultimately
proved to be easier than managing test-centres. The
TestReach team are fantastic. There’s a really good
energy and customer support are very helpful.”
Online marking has been transformative: security has
improved and the administrative burden on Institute staff
in managing the process has been reduced.
“The system is very intuitive and really helps to
streamline the marking process for all involved,"
Graham Kavanagh outlined.
“The distribution of scripts is much cleaner and more
secure with everything contained within the platform.
The exams marked online are 2-hour exams with short
answer questions. After the test, sample scripts are
taken and the standardization function in TestReach is
used, so we can ensure that papers are being marked
appropriately and consistently by the correction team.
We can also see how markers are progressing, through the
live marking function. It’s a nice interface, where we
can view the question that was asked or hide it, and we
also use the script annotation feature. If a candidate
has unfortunately failed but is still reasonably close
to the pass mark, we can set up an online meeting and
give them constructive feedback as to how their script
“Our previous system of marking was quite labour
intensive and involved multiple crosschecks for both the
correctors and our internal staff. Much of that extra
work is now removed from the team, freeing up time
during what’s always a very busy period for the
department. It has also enabled us to release results to
As for the future, the Institute will continue to conduct
its exams online, and will look at different ways to
further develop its online assessments.
‘’There are many more question types within TestReach
and we want to explore how we may be able to utilise
these into the future. We also see innovation coming
from the strong partnership we have with TestReach and
being able to explore and benefit from new features in
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