Certification Exams Via Remote Testing: An Update for 2021

By Aaron Wiseman, M.S. February 18, 2021
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Certification Exams Via Remote Testing: An Update for 2021

​It's been nearly a year since the COVID-19 crisis began. A return to normalcy is on the horizon, but how business is done has been forever changed. The pandemic created the need for rapid workplace innovation. For the SHRM certification program, the introduction of remote proctoring for the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP exams was one innovation—a solution that came just in time.

Since May 2020, SHRM has offered both in-person and remote testing options to candidates for its certification exams. Now, even as many test centers are beginning to resume in-person operations, SHRM continues to offer 24/7 testing via the remote platform and will do so for the foreseeable future so examinees have a choice in how and where they take the test.

Early Issues

The first few months of the remote proctoring experience saw various technical problems, including connectivity issues and a server outage, which hindered smooth delivery or prevented some candidates from completing their exams. SHRM did not take these unfortunate incidents lightly. In the ensuing months, we worked with Prometric, our certification testing partner, to make improvements to the remote proctoring program. Our commitment to examinees remains constant.

Later Improvements

At the end of 2020, Prometric transitioned the SHRM remote proctoring program to a cloud-based platform, which provides more flexibility. The new platform better supports examinees' bandwidth fluctuations and has significantly decreased the frequency and duration of connection drops.

Another recent change is a new technical feature called Scratchpad, which opens a floating window in which candidates can capture digital notes during the exam. Physical scratch paper is no longer necessary when testing from home.

Continued Success

Of the 10,000-plus SHRM examinees who have used the remote testing option to date, more than 95 percent have experienced smooth delivery of their exams. Less than 3 percent have faced technical setbacks.

Recent data shows that candidates who test remotely pass their exams at rates nearly identical to the rates of those testing in person. Completion rates are virtually indistinguishable, as well.

Recommendations for Best Performance with Remote Testing:

  • Seek a consistent Internet connection. You are not allowed to lose contact for any prolonged period because a Prometric proctor is monitoring you live while you are taking the test.
  • Use a wired (versus wireless) network. If possible, connect directly to your router.
  • If testing from home, ask others within your household to avoid using the Internet during your exam session.
  • Tethering to a mobile hot spot is prohibited.
  • Ensure your computer is suitable. Cellphones and tablets are not compatible with remote testing; other issues might affect other devices. Perform the Prometric system readiness check before test day to identify the issues that might prevent your computer from working properly.
  • Find the right testing location. You can use remote proctoring only where you can control your environment (for instance, other people and animals are not allowed in the room), so think ahead about the best place to take your exam.
  • Make note of all security procedures. When you test from home, your home becomes the test center. Take the rules and procedures for testing at home seriously. They cannot be disregarded just because you are taking the test in a place other than a controlled in-person test center.
  • Read all the instructions in advance. When testing from home, it is your responsibility to provide a secure test environment. There are a lot of rules to follow, so read all the relevant information and communications that SHRM and Prometric send you.
  • Be patient and kind. SHRM is striving to give everyone who uses the remote testing option the best experience possible and a fair shot at passing the exam. If problems occur, SHRM will work with you to make things right.

 
For more information:

 
Aaron Wiseman, M.S., is SHRM's senior specialist, certification security.

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