As institutions digitalize their examination processes, the age old saying in computers – GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out) – kicks in here too. Success of the digitalized examination process depends on the data that goes into the process!
While an institution may deploy state-of-the-art IT systems, it will not be of much use if the data that enters those digital systems from the physical world is not correct.
In an online survey conducted in 2020 by Digiproctor, about 1100 students from an institution were sent emails with a link, which displayed a copy of their personal information held in the institution’s database.
The students were asked to correct the displayed data if they found it incorrect.Over 350 students (about 30%) corrected their data!
A significant amount of effort by IT managers in institutions is spent on ensuring that data entry errors are eliminated by automating the data entry process (by things like directly scanning the documents and OCRing text). But it cannot be 100% fool-proof - and data entry errors do occur, particularly due to human error. For example, staff may suffer from fatigue after working long hours on tedious data entry tasks; and this often results in them mistyping data or entering duplicate data by mistake.
Errors due to humans are compounded by the fact that in most institutions there are multiple points from where data enters into IT systems; and diverse stakeholders, ranging from teaching faculty to admissions office to examination office to accounts, all feed data into IT systems over their LAN with minimal or no supervision.
Apart from the errors caused by humans, errors in data can also creep in because of the many different sources of data. These different sources may have different data formats – for example, date in one source may be written as 30 July, 2021, while in another it may be represented as 30-07-2021 in dd-mm-yyyy format, and yet another may represent it as 21-07-30 in yy-mm-dd format. Lack of data format standardization in institutions results in data errors.
So what can IT managers do? They can use data validation software to prevent incorrect data from entering into the systems right at the point of entry. As soon as data is entered into the system, the software checks if the data is correct – and if not, will warn the human entering the data. IT can also use data de-duplication software, which will check for and eliminate duplicates in the databases.
While this would help in curbing data errors going forward, it doesn’t solve the immediate problem because institutions already have a lot of legacy data in their IT systems - some of which may be wrong. While the data can be gradually corrected over time, for institutions who are going in for online examinations in the near future for their students, the incorrect data has to be corrected immediately.
Why this is required is illustrated below, with an example of a student’s email-ID –
In online mode, the institution’s communication with students appearing for exams from remote locations is via their email-ID and mobile. The exam schedules, notifications, and the key to enter the test are all sent to the student’s registered email-ID (which is the official email-ID held in the institution’s record/database). A common scenario is a student after having filled in his/her email-ID in the joining form, doesn’t update it despite having changed the email-ID later.
In erstwhile physical mode of exams held in the institution’s campus, the student’s un-updated email-ID will not hinder in any way the student from taking the exam – but in the online mode it can become a complete show-stopper!
As part of the ‘pre-exam’ setup process, Digiproctor shares Excel templates with the institution, which is filled in with ‘student and test data’ by the COE/examination office.
In data validation, Digiproctor does ‘data type check’ which checks if the entered data has the correct data type – for instance, if it is a mobile number, only numeric data should be there, and no characters or special characters.
It does a ‘range check’ to see if the data falls within a specified range – if students’ batches start from 2017, then Digiproctor will check whether student’s batch data falls between 2017 and 2021.
It does a ‘format check’ to see whether data follows the standard format – for example a date field will be checked for yyyy-mm-dd format.
Digiproctor also does a ‘consistency check’ – to check if the data has been entered in a logically consistent way – for example, the date of scheduled exam in future cannot be before today.
In addition to running software programs to do data validation, Digiproctor also does a student data verification by displaying the students’ personal data and slated exams data, and asking students to validate correctness of their own data – errors and discrepancies pointed out by the students if any, are informed to the exam office for resolution.
Some common findings that get thrown up during these checks –
All such errors and discrepancies that get highlighted during data validation and data verification are informed to the exam office for resolution.
When online examination solutions are being evaluated for the features – DigiProctor towers head and shoulders above others. DigiProctor is not a mere online exam and proctoring tool, but rather an end-to-end solution for digitalizing the entire examination process.
It will help you fully digitalize all three phases (pre-test, during-test and post-test phases) of your examination process – right from registering students for the exam, to setting question papers, ensuring its security and preventing leaks, conducting the assessment, evaluating the answer scripts, processing and issuing results, re-evaluating answer scripts, and finally carrying out analysis to determine test effectiveness and performance of students.
Digiproctor seamlessly syncs with the current examination processes and empowers all key stakeholders - Admin/IT Team, COE, Exam Office Staff, Question Papers Setters, Proctors, Evaluators (internal/external), and students to migrate online, automating a great deal of manual effort and repetitiveness inherent in the conventional mode of exam processes.
The online examination process for top grade institutes is way different from the common online exams process available with most solutions. This is precisely what makes DigiProctor the most ideal platform for top grade Institutes.