Customer Stories

Moving from in-person to online certification exams in just 3 weeks

Explore how the American Academy of Osteopathy delivered secure, proctored exams online for the first time


About the American Academy of Osteopathy

Providing quality medical education for its members, the American Academy of Osteopathy (AAO) is the leading US organisation in providing Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine & Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (NMM-OMM).

We heard from Dr. Lauren Noto-Bell, AAO’s Residency Program Director, who shared her impactful journey with Synap to deliver high-stakes, proctored exams since 2020 to the present date.

Challenge #1: Shifting from in-person to online exams

The advent of COVID-19 introduced significant disruptions, compelling AAO to pivot from traditional face-to-face exam delivery methods. Faced with this new reality, the academy initiated a search for online exam delivery solutions.

AAO needed a swift implementation, to become operational and launch within a matter of weeks after selecting an exam platform.

The search was initially overwhelming and stressful, exacerbated by the tight time constraints and this being the organisation’s first time delivering exams online.

Challenge #2: Ensuring exam security

Given the critical importance of maintaining the integrity and security of their NMM/OMM Resident certification exam, it became imperative to identify an online exam platform equipped with a robust proctoring tool.

If proctoring measures could not be implemented, the necessity to cancel the exams for the entire 2020 year would have been inevitable. Therefore, the selected solution needed to guarantee the highest standards of exam security with proctoring, and ensure the validity of the certification process.

The solution: A secure, tailored exam platform with outstanding support

Following an extensive evaluation of multiple exam platforms, AAO made the strategic choice of adopting Synap as their comprehensive exam and proctoring solution, tailored to meet their specific requirements.

“We chose Synap because of the individualised service, attention to detail, reasonable pricing, and high level of professionalism.”

The intuitive and user-friendly interface of Synap, described as “easy-to-use”, played a pivotal role in influencing AAO's decision to embrace the platform.

Moreover, the Synap team facilitated a seamless onboarding process for AAO, demonstrating continuous support through regular check-ins and prompt communication. This proactive approach proved instrumental in ensuring a smooth transition from in-person to online exams in a short amount of time.

“The representative assigned to us was outstanding and very thorough. She tailored the experience to our needs and stayed in regular contact, to help mitigate any issues.”

Saving hours of time with online automations

In the seamless transition from traditional in-person exams to the digital realm using Synap, AAO harnessed the power of various automated features, significantly alleviating the workload for administrators and markers.

Utilising Synap's dynamic exam functionality, AAO could effortlessly create varied exams for every user by generating exams at random for a large pool of questions. The exams maintained equity for all participants through equal weightings of questions, categorised based on various tags such as topics.

The incorporation of multiple-choice questions allowed for the automatic marking of exams, streamlining the grading process and saving valuable hours for markers.

Furthermore, the implementation of timed exams ensured uniformity, providing every candidate with an equitable amount of time to complete the examination, thus reinforcing the principles of fairness and integrity in the assessment process.

Robust proctoring: Reducing cheating and maintaining exam integrity

In upholding the integrity of their examination process, AAO implemented robust proctoring measures, incorporating continuous video and screen recording to effectively minimise the risk of cheating.

Prior to commencing the exam, candidates underwent an ID check, ensuring the validation of each member's identity and further fortifying the exam's security.

The external proctoring team proved instrumental in saving valuable hours for AAO, as the team efficiently managed the proctoring process on their behalf, monitoring the candidates, and adding flags of suspicious behaviour.

To affirm the authenticity of the examination results, the AAO team reviewed the flags of suspicious behaviour, making informed decisions to confirm or reject instances of cheating.

By leveraging Synap for proctoring their exams, AAO instilled confidence in the security of their assessment processes, fostering a sense of assurance that their examinations were conducted with the utmost scrutiny and fairness.

The results: 4 years of continued exams

Within a swift three weeks, AAO successfully launched their first high-stakes certification exam online, showcasing a seamless execution of the proctoring approach that contributed to the overall success of the examinations.

“Synap came to our rescue when we needed a platform for computer-based testing, with a short turnaround time.”

Despite the initial apprehension that often accompanies examinees when transitioning to online exams, AAO witnessed high satisfaction levels among their member with positive feedback:

“I got great feedback from our examinees, who used the platform for educational testing.”

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, AAO has continued embracing Synap for their online testing needs, opting to forego the return to in-person exams since 2020. The sustained adoption of Synap for their annual certification exams has earned high praise, as AAO affirms their satisfaction:

“We are very impressed with Synap and hope to continue working with them for our annual testing needs.”

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