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Correctional Officer exam online piloted by OPOS

During the months of April and May, an online-proctored exam pilot was conducted for the correctional officer exam by the Office of Peace Officer Selection (OPOS).

Online correctional officer exam a success

Cooperative Personnel Services-HR facilitated the pilot with ProctorU, an online exam company providing proctored exams nationwide for major universities. The pilot was a test to see if exam attendance rates could be improved in remote areas. By allowing candidates to complete the correctional officer exam from their home, travel is longer a barrier.

Closeup of correctional officer uniform showing shoulder and badge. Type says Now Hiring,

The exam featured a live proctor who monitored the exam via the user’s webcam. 

The proctor also conducted a security test on the user’s laptop, and had the candidates rotate their webcam 360 degrees to ensure they were alone while taking the exam. 

The proctor program uses facial recognition software to compare a picture of the exam candidate and their driver’s license photo to validate identification. Also, an artificial intelligence algorithm monitors and records suspicious behavior. 

Lead OPOS analyst for the pilot, Joseph Tabiolo, reported “approximately one candidate out of five offered elected to take the exam online.” 

For those taking the exam online, Imperial County saw a 19% increase in attendance. Meanwhile, there was a 53% increase for selected areas of Los Angeles County. Post-exam surveys show high levels of satisfaction with the process as well as the support from the online proctor.

Other agencies interested in results

CPS-HR Project Coordinator Dave Rechs noted several other state departments inquired about the pilot. Anxious to hear about CDCR’s results and lessons learned, he said there are plans to share the results.  CPS-HR and OPOS are working on a presentation to share with interested external parties. 

When asked about future of online proctored exams, Rechs said the future is bright.

“Departments offering these types of exams as an alternative to the traditional written exams offer candidates a much better experience,” Rechs said. “The Office of Peace Officer Selection took the bold step of being the first offering online proctored exams. We both learned a great deal from this successful partnership.”

OPOS Chief Rob Calderon agreed.

“We’re always looking at ways to use innovative ideas to improve the selection process. Whether that is by using technology to improve the candidate experience or to accelerate the process itself,” he said. “The pilot was innovative and boosted our exam numbers at a time when applications have been declining.” 

By Steve Stone, Office of Peace Officer Selection

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