Aspeq news

Right place, right people: Aspeq’s exam centres and invigilators

Mar 4, 2024

Aspeq is a global company providing high-stakes assessment services across 31 countries. Key to its success is its suite of secure exam centres staffed by professional invigilators. With over 60 centres in Australia-New Zealand, including cities and rural areas, Aspeq offers candidates a wide range of locations from which to comfortably, conveniently and securely sit their exams.

Close to home

Aspeq sets itself apart from other assessment providers both by the wide geographic spread of its exam centres and the high security measures it implements at these venues. 

“Our suite of exam centres is unparalleled anywhere in the Asia Pacific,” says Aspeq’s Head of Candidate Services, Naomi Barker, who is based in Canberra.

In Australia alone, Aspeq holds exams at 37 sites across all States and Territories. In a large country like Australia, Aspeq understands the importance of providing access to exam centres for candidates in remote areas as well as urban centres.

“Out of our five exam centres in the Northern Territory, for example, only one is in the city of Darwin. The others are dotted from the top to the bottom of the territory,” says Naomi.

Offering a wide range of venues saves candidates the stress, time and money that goes along with travelling long distances to sit their exams.

 

Room to grow

Aspeq can set-up a new exam centre within a month, and is always looking for opportunities to expand its already impressive network of centres.

“We are constantly reviewing and responding to our customers’ needs. Through candidate surveys, and speaking with industry and our clients, we have a good understanding of where candidates are based and where there is demand for new facilities,” says Naomi.

Setting up a new exam centre isn’t trivial, but Naomi’s expert team has the process down to a science. Once an adequately secure and comfortable venue is found, it’s a matter of fitting the room out with IT equipment and hiring a skilled invigilator.

Naomi says Aspeq is seeing a growing need for exam centres in far-flung areas, and is ready to deliver on that demand quickly. Most recently, new centres were opened in Emerald, Queensland and Orange, New South Wales.

 

Keeping in check

Whether a centre is located in central Sydney or remote Alice Springs, Aspeq enforces the same rigorous processes to ensure the best possible experience for its exam-takers.

Most often, Aspeq staff will travel to assess each potential venue location. Using a strict venue compliance checklist, the team assesses noise levels, parking availability, accessibility, strong internet connection, convenient location, plenty of space and general pleasantness and comfort of the venue.

Aspeq regularly audits all of its exam centres to ensure they are still fit for purpose. In between visits, Aspeq relies on its invigilators and candidate surveys to monitor how each venue is performing.

In addition to regular audits, Aspeq also includes “mystery shoppers” in its quality management programme. Without announcement, Aspeq team members visit venues to sit exams as candidates, to get the full experience.

“Audits, surveys and mystery shoppers are all ways we ensure that our venues consistently offer candidates the best possible experience that meets our high standards, regardless of where they are sitting the exam,” Naomi says.

 

High stakes, high security

Aspeq works with high-stakes industries like aviation, finance, health and emergency services. Its exams test candidates’ abilities to perform critical roles in our society. As such, Aspeq knows that security is paramount when it comes to how exams are delivered and assessed.

Aspeq delivers the vast majority of its exams through its secure digital portal. The portal is accessible through a secure router, which is configured to beam internet only into Aspeq’s purpose built laptops. The laptops are locked-down so that users can only access the exam portal, ensuring no external information can be sent or received.

Exams results are immediately sent to Aspeq’s servers through the secure router, meaning results are never kept on site. At the end of the day, laptops are securely stored in locked cases or offices.

Skilled on-site invigilators maintain exam integrity in the room. They also carry out identity checks, ensure candidates understand the exam rules and instructions, and only bring in and leave with authorised material.  Invigilators are trained to recognise signs of cheating, and constantly - but discreetly - monitor the room for signs of suspicious behaviour.

 

Always improving

Aspeq is dedicated to giving candidates the best possible exam experience. They do this by actively asking for, and responding to, feedback from its invigilators and exam-takers.

“It’s about listening to what our candidates are saying, and actually using the systems that our candidates are using - right from the time of booking through to leaving the exam centre,” Naomi explains.

Aspeq sends quarterly surveys to all test takers. Between surveys, at every exam centre, candidates are able to access feedback cards or a QR code with a link asking about their exam experience, and are encouraged to contact Aspeq with suggestions.

The Candidate Services team follows-up on every piece of feedback personally, and updates the candidate on what is being done to address it.

“Most of the time people are surprised that anyone is even reading the feedback, let alone acting on it, but we take what our candidates tell us very seriously.”

No piece of feedback is too big or too small for Naomi’s team: from the thickness of pen tips, to comfortable chairs, clarity of parking instructions, and ease of using the online booking portal - all elements of the process have been improved based on candidates’ feedback, says Naomi.

“It’s often simple things that can be adjusted quickly but can make a huge difference for candidates,” adds Naomi.

Naomi is supported by a team of highly skilled professionals who are trained to be knowledgeable in the rules and requirements associated with the exams they are delivering, as well as customer resolution.

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