Assessment Center Tips & Tricks: Launching an Exam
By: Emily Yunker, MPA, PMP, Director, Assessment Services and Security Officer and Simone Stewart, Coordinator, Member Engagement
After working with programs to understand the challenges faced with classes of various size, it is important we expound upon the two different methods for starting these exams: removing the PIN or giving the PIN to students to enter.
The program and proctor should decide ahead of time which method will work best for their exam event. Whichever is chosen, the timing and order of the steps can be critical to a successful exam day.
OPTION 1: Remove the PIN
Communicate to students that they should NOT enter their keycode until given specific permission to do so. Entering the keycode will download the test to SecureClient and the student must use the unlocking method in place when the exam is downloaded, whether the system expects a proctor Unlock or manual PIN entry.
If the proctor is removing the PIN:
- Schedule the test in the Assessment Hub.
- Five days before the exam, the Monitor Exam tab in the Exam Delivery Platform will populate with upcoming exam events. At this time, Proctor Users can then select these upcoming exams and click the Remove PIN button in advance if preferred.
NOTE: It is recommended that proctors download the Invigilation Pack before they remove the PIN, whether it is done in advance or at exam time. If you see a purple down arrow icon in a student’s row, this indicates they are a PC user who has already entered their keycode and downloaded their test. You will not be able to remove their PIN. The state will not change for Mac users who have already entered their keycode, nor will PIN removal be blocked. Having the Invigilation Pack with PINs on hand will help in case a student enters their keycode before PIN removal, and their screen asks for a manual PIN entry at test time.
- After the PIN is removed, the students may be instructed to enter their keycode and download their test in advance. Doing so in advance is not mandatory but may help eliminate timing and bandwidth issues on test day. If you would like students to download their test early, we recommend sending the students instructions via email or message board after you have removed the PIN.
- On test day, the student(s) enters the exam room and stows their bag, study materials, and devices. At this time, the proctor should check the box next to each student in the Monitor Exam screen of the Exam Delivery Platform. If you have not already removed PINs, do that as the students enter the test room.
NOTE: Keep in mind you will not be able to remove the PIN for PC users who have already entered their keycode and downloaded the test. These users, who will have a purple down arrow, should not be checked when removing the PIN at test time and will need to be given the PIN for manual entry.
- The student can also open SecureClient and check for updates at this time without entering their keycode.
- Once the proctor clicks Remove PIN, then the students should be instructed to enter their keycode, review their exam details, and review and acknowledge the Examinee Agreement. Those who entered their keycode in advance will still need to enter it again to access their exam.
- The student will be stopped after the Examinee Agreement and their screen will say the test is locked by the proctor. Proctor users will see a lock with a yellow I in the State column for students ready to Unlock. Please note Mac and iPad users will not change to this particular icon and do not need to be checked on the page for this step. The Monitor Exam page auto-refreshes every minute, but the proctor can refresh the page using the button in the upper right corner to reveal the Lock icons. When that happens, click Unlock and all the students, including Mac and iPad users, will start testing!
OPTION 2: Using the PIN
We recommended the proctor write each PIN on the board or somewhere easily seen by the student(s). Using this method takes away some of the actions required by the proctor:
- The student(s) enters the exam room and stows their bag, study materials, and devices.
- The student(s) open SecureClient and check for updates.
- The student(s) enter their keycode, review their exam details, and review and acknowledge the Examinee Agreement.
- The student will be stopped after the Examinee Agreement and their screen will say the test is locked by PIN. The Proctor user will see a lock with a blue P in the State column. At this point students will enter the PIN, which was provided to them by the proctor, and start the exam!
NOTE: Do not send the PIN to the students in advance for In Person exams.
For Unproctored exams, PINs will not be automatically generated. Students can begin these exams at any time within the designated exam window. More information is available here in the update for October 31.
For remote proctored exams, students will not use SecureClient, so no early test download is available. The program should send the PIN(s) to the remote proctoring service when the information becomes available on the Monitor Exam page. The PIN is then given to students by the remote proctoring service when their environment is secure.
NOTE: The program should not use the Remove PIN button for any Remote Proctored exams.
As a reminder, there are two components to beginning any exam in the Assessment Center:
- The keycode – This is sent to the student when their exam is scheduled. They can download their test five days in advance (In Person or Unproctored exams), but they will not be able to enter the exam and begin answering questions until the scheduled start time.
- The PIN – For each exam day, there will be a different PIN, which the proctor has, for each exam type and delivery type, so seven for an End of Rotation exam day. For an In Person exam, it can be removed five days in advance if you do not want to wait until test day, or don’t have a board or projection ability in your test room.
PAEA continues to work on process improvements with programs. Please share any suggestions or unique problems by reaching out to us at exams@PAEAonline.org.