‘AI and facial recognition tech will pave the new way of conducting entrance exams in India’
For the upcoming LSAT-India exam, starting on July 19, after successful identity validation, every candidate’s test will be proctored remotely using AI-enabled technology and the exam will be recorded via the computer’s web camera. Yusuf Abdul-Kareem, Vice President of Emerging Markets, Law School Admission Council, believes that a sophisticated version of facial recognition technology will be the future of entrance exams
What are your key tech implementations and how does it benefit law entrance exam candidates in India?
We have always taken pride in our commitment to serve candidates and create pathways for them to achieve their goals. In these unprecedented times, that commitment couldn’t be stronger. The transition to an online remote proctored test is designed to provide greater access and opportunity for students, while maintaining the security and reliability of the exam. Candidates will be able to take the test from the comfort and safety of their homes or a location of their choice. This measure is taken to give law aspirants an opportunity to pursue a legal education despite Covid-19 public health restrictions on travel and public gathering.
We know how important the integrity and fairness of the test are to candidates and schools, so we will implement a rigorous data forensic programme to ensure the highest quality standards LSAC is known for. Candidates will have to complete a virtual check-in process, which includes enhanced identification and authentication procedures. After successful identity validation, the candidate will be approved to take the test using a secured browser. Every candidate’s test will be proctored remotely using AI-enabled technology and the candidate’s entire examination will be recorded via the computer’s web camera. If misconduct of any kind is detected, then the exam will be flagged for deeper review.
Any innovative implementation which has helped in streamlining processes?
We are taking every measure and leaving nothing to chance so every law aspirant who takes LSAT—India exam, starting on 19 July, has a smooth and enjoyable test experience. At LSAC, we work hard to try to stay on top of innovation and technology, which has helped us rise to the challenge of providing safe and secure remote proctored testing in response to this unexpected and devastating Covid-19 emergency. Beyond the online test, we work hard to maintain a student centric approach to our test delivery. To streamline the registration and improve the test experience, for example, we created a customer feedback loop that allows us to troubleshoot and resolve candidate issues within hours. We’ll continue to work with our partners and alliance members to smoothen the law school admission process and help provide every law aspirant a clear path to their career and success.
How can higher education institutions leverage technology for dealing with unprecedented situations like the coronavirus outbreak?
With roughly 450 million internet users in India, most students are increasingly able to access reading and prep material at a click of a button. Higher education institutions should be taking measures to provide a robust offering of virtual courses for students and addressing the needs of candidates and students who may not have access to a computer or the internet. To do so effectively, they should start by thinking creatively and out of the box – these extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. I have seen numerous examples of technology tools being repurposed to fill the need of the hour. A good example of this are the Web Conferencing Apps and platforms. Although it has been a useful tool in the business community for quite some time, the education sector is now enthusiastically embracing it to help maintain virtual class participation.
It’s so important that institutions select technology tools that will enhance the teaching and learning experience. We’re not talking about technology for technology’s sake, we need to focus on technologies and teaching strategies that increase student engagement and class participation. Higher education institutions won’t be able to completely replace the benefits of in-person teaching, but distance learning has been gaining momentum, the global pandemic just made it everyone’s “new normal,” for some time to come.
The legal education sector is also witnessing drastic changes. Webinars and virtual classes by industry experts, advocates, judges are on the rise. A student in any law school in India, has access to lectures which are being delivered by leading law practitioners. Many universities have virtual libraries which have been made accessible to the students and faculty to continue to access the resources much needed for study and research. Top law schools around the world are also offering short term courses for continuous legal learning. This is accessible and open to non-lawyers as well.
Which according to you, are the emerging technologies that will make a significant difference in the Indian education sector in the future, particularly with reference to entrance examinations?
Facial recognition and online ID verification are few such technologies which can facilitate the fair conduct of entrance examination especially in these times forcing us to stay at home. The technology is still at its nascent stage. The same would also fall under the purview of privacy and data protection laws. However, a sophisticated version of facial recognition technology will be the future of entrance examination. This would enable a student to take test from the comfort of their home.
We have started working with Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled technologies, the combination of AI and facial recognition technologies will pave a new way in conducting entrance examinations in India.
Are there any new projects / tech implementations you are looking at in the next few years?
As a leader in the higher education sector, LSAC is always looking for the next frontier of assessments and tools to support candidates’ journeys to law school. This curiosity led to our collaboration with Khan Academy in 2018. We recognised that there was a desperate need for a free comprehensive resource to help candidates prepare for LSAT. The Khan Academy resource provides interactive video lessons, working examples, quick guides and tools to enhance the performance of test takers. We are averaging 50,000 users of the site each month.
In March 2020, we launched LawHub, our new online legal education portal that provides educational content and other services to help support students along their law school enrolment journey and beyond. LawHub serves as a host for two new Digital LSAT preparation products that help law school candidates improve their skills and feel more confident as they take the LSAT and begin their journey toward a career in the field of law. We will start working on a version of these online preparation tools and practice tests for LSAT—India this fall to give students time to prepare for the exam in 2021.
Is there any other important factor you would like to highlight ?
Technology will continue to play an increasing role in every aspect our lives, and that trend will only accelerate. While nothing will ever fully replace in-person human engagement, technology will help us fill the gap during this challenging time of the Covid-19 pandemic, and properly used technology can expand access for candidates and enhance learning opportunities for students.
One piece of advice to institutions would be to pick and choose your technology tools wisely. Don’t try to fit a square peg in a round hole. Just because another institution is using a technology it doesn’t mean that it will necessarily fit your institutions’ needs.
But above all, my advice to schools and institutions would be to dig in and try to understand how emerging technologies can support and enhance your goals. If you start with the needs of your students, faculty, and community, and invest on the basis of how best to address those needs, you will see important benefits.