2 Innovative Strategies for Conducting Midterm and Final Exams During a Pandemic

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Discover how AvePoint is empowering educators and their classrooms with powerful online learning solutions.

Social distancing and other public health measures necessary to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 have required Institutions of higher learning (IHLs) to transform how they educate.

Some adjustments have been easier to make than others. Professors are still lecturing groups of students, but it now takes place on a video stream rather than in a classroom.

Exams, on the other hand, have proven to be more difficult for IHLs to virtualize. While educators have grown comfortable with smaller quizzes and less important assessments being delivered in an online setting, many institutions have blinked when it comes to high stake assessments such as midterms, finals, or standardized tests.

In the United States, many universities have waived traditional SAT or ACT requirements. National standardized testing in primary schools has been postponed until 2022. In Singapore, many autonomous universities have decided to cancel the finals and grade their students based on their past work.

However, there are some institutions such as Republic Polytechnic that have found innovative ways to conduct high-stakes exams such as midterm and finals during the pandemic. Here are two strategies that have proven to be effective.

Strategy: Use Technology to Prevent Cheating and Ensure a Level Playing Field

The main reasons IHLs hesitate to move toward online exams are security and internet stability.

How can educators be confident their students aren’t cheating if they can’t monitor them physically? And what happens if a student’s internet connection experiences issues during the test and their answers are lost? How can an assessment be standardized if the devices students are using to take the test are not?

Recently, I was very privileged to have had the opportunity to host an hour-long webinar with Pratima Amonkar, the APAC Head of Cloud Solution Partners from Microsoft.

We discussed how the latest technologies can dispel these concerns and allow educators to feel comfortable conducting high-stake exams online.


For example, Microsoft provides the foundation for AvePoint’s exam management system, Examena, to come in and help. The technology features facial recognition and a central platform for invigilators to monitor and prevent cheating. Educators can select which technologies, books, or other materials are allowed and the platform can ensure consistent, robust enforcement.

The solution also features an offline mode that prevents connectivity disruptions from impacting the integrity of the test and a BYOD-enabled exam packages ensure all students have a consistent experience.

Just like any other technology (cloud computing is a great example), while there is a hesitancy to adopt today, it will be a uniform standard tomorrow. With the impact of COVID-19, early adoption has very real advantages for IHLs.

Strategy: Use A Hybrid Model

A hybrid exam model is when educators still have students take the test in person (socially distanced of course) but move all other associated testing activities online. This includes exam scheduling, exam crafting, and grading.

Not only is this aligned with the current remote learning environment, but it can also reduce the time involved with activities such as appointing invigilators, arranging exam centers and venues, securing answer scripts, conducting bias-free evaluation, and on-time results publication.

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How To Make The Transition

If you're interested in learning more about how IHLs can transform their traditional pen-and-paper exams to enable either fully online or hybrid exam models, check out our latest webinar. We discuss:

  • Exam scheduling and logistics preparation (e.g. physical venue booking)
  • Fully digitalised exam paper authoring with secured and traceable printing process
  • Seamless exam delivery experiences for educators and students
  • Digital marking including exam scripts on physical papers
  • Advanced grading and data analytics

By the end of our webinar, we hope you could have a clearer understanding of the challenges you may face in the education industry and how we can help to seamlessly digitalize your exam process.

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