Lockdown announcements in most European nations in March and April 2020 hit universities at a time when they were preparing for the annual exam cycle, which are often final summative module exams or assignments. Universities had to carefully balance the desire to help students complete their courses or studies while also maintaining quality standards through verification and invigilation or proctoring. If that were not enough, designing the required assessment strategies and delivery processes had to be done a speed and at scale.
Online assessments involving tools that process personal data for the purpose of identity and/or authorship verification, constitute a context in which trust is a key issue, i.e. trust by all parties involved in the assessment that these technologies enable secure, fair and reliable assessments. After all, educational institutions, students, teachers, employers, quality assurance agencies ... they all want to be able to trust that the assessment – instrument and process – provides a reliable indication of a student’s competence.
Under this theme we explore the operational challenges that were faced by institutions as the pandemic struck. These challenges were approached in a number of ways that were dependent upon a number of factors including; how each organisation was already structured, the extent to which each organisation had already deployed and gained familiarity with particular technologies and finally the level of support that was required by staff and students.