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West African Examinations Council Manages Student Testing Via RFID

Exam supervisors in Nigeria have been using readers to capture data from RFID-enabled badges to verify each student's authenticity, as well as create an electronic record of who took a particular test.
By Claire Swedberg

If the supervisors find that fraudulent activity has occurred, such as a bogus test taker or signs of cheating on the test (for instance, the use of a calculator or a mobile phone, or two test forms containing the exact same written answers), they can input the ID number printed on each perpetrator's badge, or read the badge's RFID inlay with the device and press a prompt indicating an instance of malpractice.

Prior to using the Botosoft system, says Femi Agoro, another director at Botosoft Technologies, WAEC lacked an accurate system of determining who was taking which exam, and when. Therefore, it was harder for the council to organize the test-taking locations and frequency for each school or geographic area. With the CIVAMPEMS data, the agency can better manage future tests.

WAEC's Charles Eguridu
The RFID system also eliminates the need for paper registration forms, and ensures that mistakes are not made by WAEC personnel who must compare the photos printed on those forms with the appearances of the test takers standing before them. The system was taken live for the testing season in May 2014, Agoro reports, and is being used again this year.

Charles Eguridu, the head of WAEC's international examinations department, says that the agency is utilizing the data for analytics purposes, in order to improve on when and where it schedules testing. "We use the data for statistical analysis, such as the number of students who took the test at various locations."

The organization also uses the information to look into any location that might pose a high risk for cheating or security problems, since it ensures that every individual who enters the exam center is a student, and not an impersonator who has come to disrupt the testing, or to cause injury to employees or other students. "The data is very important for us," Eguridu states. "There are cases of impersonation involving a large group of examinees who can pose serious threats to the WAEC officials trying to moderate the exams."

Additionally, Eguridu adds, the Nigerian government has used the WAEC testing data stored in Botosoft's software to identify the 240 girls who were abducted by radical insurgent organization Boko Haram last year. During the abduction, the girls' school was bombed, destroying all records. "There was no way to confirm exactly who was taken, and there was even skepticism about the abduction, as they could not confirm the identities," Eguridu says. "The president of Nigeria turned to the WAEC organization for help, and WAEC was able to use its examinations process to identify the girls who had been in the system, providing their photographs, names and other information."

To date, the WAEC has used the Botosoft system with RFID technology only in Nigeria. However, the agency plans to expand the technology's use to other West African nations next year.

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