Image by Ben Mysc
In this landscape of social distancing, many educational institutions are planning to continue classes using either a fully online model, or a hybrid model whereby teaching is undertaken remotely as well as on digital platforms. While this is challenging for existing teachers and students, it is also affecting the admissions process for new prospective students.
One example, and one that is very close to us at SOWISO, is the mathematics requirement many university programs adhere to. Economics, Biology, Business Administration, Physics, Psychology, Engineering and Computer Science all require some level of mathematics. However, it’s not always easy to guarantee that an international applicant meets these requirements.
When admissions offices are unable to recognise foreign diplomas or certificates, depending on the country, students can be denied, redirected to offline admissions tests and/or summer courses, or put in foundation years. All of these options, whether organised by universities themselves or outsourced to third parties, are costly, resource-intensive and time-consuming. Students might have to travel to overseas campuses or vetted after-school facilities for extra training, with almost all options culminating with a final exam at a test center or through an admissions agent, which increases the risk of fraud. The ongoing pandemic has made these options even less viable; because of the many health risks related to offline exams, many governments are pushing for exams to be taken digitally.
It’s important we find good, and most importantly, safe alternatives. Recent years have shown a significant growth in the number of international students. In several developed countries, the influx of international students has become a significant source of income for higher education institutions. In the Netherlands, the majority (80%) of incoming international students are still set on moving abroad for their education.
SOWISO wanted to make it easier for both students and universities to provide applicants with a safe and easy check of their math competency. We therefore started The Online Mathematics Placement Test, or OMPT, which offers universities online math exams which can be used to show that an applicant has the required mastery of basic mathematics sufficient to be eligible for enrollment.
OMPT exams are exclusively taken online. We don’t work with fixed locations, dates, and times - students can choose when and where to take our exams, which are available 24/7/365. This adds some much needed flexibility to the admissions process, while at the same time providing students the freedom to be in control of their own schedule.
Additionally, because anyone can take our OMPT exams, we can ensure that each applicant takes the same math test, no matter their origin or background. This makes it easier for admissions offices to draw a clear baseline for their incoming students. We want universities to be in control of their own admissions process, which is why we allow them to pick their own minimum passing grade requirements, even per topic.
OMPT provides universities with information on score (including a breakdown per topic), and the amount of attempts an applicant took. This can all be verified using our online admissions portal. For applicants who are interested in additional preparation, we offer relevant practice material as well as mock exams.
However, none of this would be meaningful if we didn’t pay close attention to fraud prevention.
When administering exams online, it’s important to authenticate student identities, prevent cheating, and protect exam content. These actions help ensure that no students have an unfair advantage during an exam, maintain the credibility of the educational institution and uphold the academic integrity of the exam.
OMPT partners with ProctorU for these services. ProctorU provides secure online exam invigilation (sometimes called proctoring) solutions for more than 1,000 educational institutions and professional organisations around the world.
When a student logs in to take their exam, they’re greeted by a live human invigilator.
When the credibility and integrity of your educational program is on the line, it’s important that you partner with a company you can trust to protect your exams.
If you’re interested in more content on this topic, ProctorU has a free white paper and webinar centered on the rapid migration to remote education in the wake of COVID-19.
We have already heard from many universities that the need to look into safely administering online exams is growing, and this is also true for the admissions process, as many applicants are unable to take an exam through regular means.
Is this true for your university as well? Let us know if OMPT can help you and your admissions team. We already created five off-the-shelf exams, but do let us know if we can help you create customized exams to best fit your university’s needs. If you are interested in learning more about OMPT, check out our website.