This policy outlines the exam security measures and monitoring CPA Australia will be applying to exams delivered in Semester 1, 2020 for the CPA Program.
Due to the current global pandemic relating to the spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), Semester 1, 2020 CPA Program exams will be delivered online.
Integrity is a fundamental principle underpinning the accounting profession. Actions by CPA Program candidates (whether members of CPA Australia or not), such as plagiarism, cheating, collusion and any other conduct whereby the candidate has sought to obtain an unfair academic advantage are not permitted.
CPA Australia will be taking additional measures to ensure the security and integrity of the Semester 1, 2020 CPA Program exams. These measures are in place to identify behaviours that may provide a candidate with an unfair advantage while sitting their exam online or where a candidate may be disclosing, publishing, reproducing, or transmitting content found within the exam—this is considered a breach of the CPA Program Non-Disclosure Agreement.
Exam security measures will include (but are not limited to):
- Candidate identification documentation to be presented prior to the commencement of the online exam for verification purposes
- Webcam monitoring of candidates during the online exam
- Post-exam interview (video call)
- Web monitoring of online forums, social media platforms and study groups
- Data forensics on candidate behaviour during the exam.
Further information about these measures can be found below.
Candidate identification, as well as audio and video recordings, will be digitally captured to enable exam security measures and protect the integrity of the exam delivery. All information captured during participation in the exam process will be used solely to enable candidates to undertake the exam, to support exam security measures, and to allow CPA Australia to administer the exam marking process.
Results from exam security measures will be reviewed by CPA Australia. A candidate may be referred to Professional Conduct where there is doubt regarding the authenticity of the candidate’s identification during the exam, or where there is suspicious behaviour that does not align with the guidelines and conditions outlined in this policy, and may result in an unfair advantage.
Further information about academic misconduct and referrals to Professional Conduct is outlined below.
This policy applies to all candidates undertaking the CPA Program, regardless of their membership status.
CPA Program Exam Conditions
- The CPA Program exam is governed by CPA Australia’s Non-Disclosure Agreement, Academic Misconduct Policy and this policy (Exam Security Policy). Together, these policies are referred to as the CPA Program Exam Conditions
- Candidates are required to read and accept the CPA Program Semester 1, 2020 Exam Security Policy, Academic Misconduct Policy and Non-Disclosure Agreement (CPA Program Exam Conditions) prior to the commencement of the examination
- Candidates must complete the necessary system checks prior to the exam
- Candidates must complete an identity verification process and provide the personal information outlined in the identification verification section of this policy
- Candidates must complete the exam without assistance from others
- Candidates should sit in an environment conducive to sitting an exam with little noise or distraction
- Candidates should not access or have a mobile phone with them throughout the exam. Their mobile phone should only be retrieved in the event of a technical issue where a call to CPA Australia is required
- Candidates must ensure their webcam is connected and enabled to capture footage of their face periodically throughout the exam
- Candidates should consider the identification and the personal data fields they are providing, covering the fields that are not required for identification verification purposes
- Candidates should consider their exam environment as the webcam may be capturing personal information that they may not wish to share. Candidates are advised to remove any unwanted personal information that is not required for identification verification from their webcam vision
- Exam security measures are a critical component of the CPA Program exam delivery. The onus is on each candidate to ensure they have an appropriate set up and a reliable internet connection to conduct the exam and to enable the exam security measures
- Candidates are not permitted to wear headphones or earplugs during the exam.
NOTE: Guidance on conducting system requirements is available. If the device does not meet the system requirements, candidates should contact CPA Australia in advance of the exam window to defer their exam. The closing date for Semester 1, 2020 deferral is Wednesday, 6 May 2020 (for all subjects except Singapore Taxation), please refer to the important dates page on the CPA Australia website for more information.
Should a candidate experience a technical issue during the exam, they should contact CPA Australia immediately for support, providing full details of the incident. CPA Australia will advise accordingly if supporting evidence (e.g. screenshots) are required, however candidates must be conscious not to share the content of the question. CPA Australia will assist in attempting to resolve the issue and will be available for the duration of the exam window. However, candidates may be unable to proceed with undertaking the exam and their enrolment may be deferred (without fee) to Semester 2, 2020.
Approach to Exam Security Measures
CPA Australia has taken necessary measures to ensure exam security is maintained to protect the integrity of the CPA designation.
As part of the exam check-in process, candidates will be required to use their webcam to record a short video presenting their face, identification and exam environment before the commencement of the exam. The video recorded by a webcam may be verified by CPA Australia to ensure it matches the member’s CPA Australia record and the person who sits the exam. The guidelines below outline how candidates should capture their identification accurately.
- Candidates must show a copy of a government-issued photo identification that clearly displays their full name and date of birth (as it appears on their member record with CPA Australia) and a clear photo of the candidate
- Candidates must also show their face and their exam environment
- A candidate may wish to redact any personal information from their identification that is not required for the purpose of identification verification (their full name, date of birth and a photograph is all that is required)
- Candidates should not have a mobile phone with them throughout the exam. Their mobile phone should only be retrieved in the event of a technical issue where a call to CPA Australia is required
- The number appearing on a national identity card or driver’s license is not required for verification purposes. If a candidate chooses to use these forms of identification, they must ensure they cover the identification number on this card
- The name on the identification documentation presented must exactly match the name on their member record with CPA Australia and be presented in English
- The candidate must provide a 360-degree view of the room/environment in which they undertake their examination. This view must show that no other person is in the room, there are no prohibited items on their desk or workstation, and there is no recording equipment present in the room (other than the camera in use). The 360-degree view will also need to display areas under their desk, on the floor and in each corner of the room
- Credit or bank cards are not a suitable means of identification and should not be used
- Candidates will be required to record their face to validate their identity. Candidates must ensure they capture a clear picture of their face and they must not wear any hats, scarves or other clothing that may obscure their face, unless worn for religious reasons.
To ensure that the person completing the identification verification process is the person who sits the exam, candidates’ webcams will capture video recordings periodically throughout the exam.
- CPA Australia will use these recordings to determine whether a candidate has adhered to the Exam Conditions, which may include: ensuring the candidate who sat the exam has been consistent throughout the exam, and ensuring the exam has been completed without assistance from another person
- When the exam time expires, or the candidate chooses to end the exam, the webcam will automatically record the candidate’s face to capture their identity on submission of the exam
- The recordings will be reviewed by CPA Australia to ensure the identity of the person sitting the exam remains consistent throughout the entire duration of the exam and, that they have adhered to the CPA Program Exam Conditions.
CPA Australia will be conducting post-exam interviews for a percentage of candidates, to validate their identity and request they demonstrate their knowledge of the responses provided within their exam.
- Post-exam interviews will be conducted for specific candidates where there is doubt to their exam authenticity. This may include, but is not limited to, situations where CPA Australia was unable to identify a candidate from the identification process, or where there is inconsistency in the videos captured during the webcam monitoring
- A post-exam interview will be conducted via video call only and the interview will be recorded for the interviewer to review following the call
- If a candidate is enrolled in multiple subjects, we will only conduct one post-exam interview on the subject where further validation was warranted
- An email will be sent to notify the selected candidates that they will receive a call from CPA Australia within 24 hours to schedule their post-exam interview
- Two (2) attempts will be made to contact candidates by email to book in the post-exam interview within 2-weeks from the date the exam was completed
- A booking will be scheduled for 15 minutes based on the candidate’s preferred date/time within the available window
- Candidates’ identification will be validated during all post-exam interviews, based on the following areas:
- 3 points of identification that can be found in the member’s record with CPA Australia (full name, address, email address, date of birth)
- Video recordings during the post-exam interview match video recordings captured during their exam
- Identification matches the identification provided during the identification verification process prior to the commencement of the exam.
- Candidates may be asked to provide verbal responses to 2-3 exam questions, providing reasoning, their approach, technical knowledge and/or study guide location knowledge. This is simply to further validate the identification of the candidate and none of the verbal responses will count towards the overall CPA Program exam mark.
CPA Australia will be engaging test security specialists to monitor online web pages, study groups and social media platforms, in search for candidates engaging in potential plagiarism, cheating, collusion and any other conduct whereby the candidate has sought to obtain an academic unfair advantage.
This monitoring activity will be conducted in multiple languages to ensure the security of our examination is maintained.
Candidates will complete and submit exams as normal - there are no additional requirements that a candidate is required to undertake. A variety of data points will be captured during the exam, including, but not limited to: CPA Australia ID, member name and email address as it appears on a candidate’s CPA Australia member record, response times and the order that questions are attempted. The data will undergo statistical analysis against the entire cohort of candidates sitting the exam. Responses that are identified as being a statistical anomaly may be reviewed by CPA Australia and potentially used as supporting evidence to complete an investigation of alleged academic misconduct.
Referral to Professional Conduct
A candidate may be referred to Professional Conduct where there is doubt of the authenticity of their identification during the exam or suspected behaviour has been observed during the exam security measures, which may result in an unfair academic advantage.
A candidate may face investigation by Professional Conduct and possible repercussions under the Academic Misconduct Policy. Penalties include, but are not limited to, the following:
- forfeiture of membership
- suspension of membership
- lowering of membership status
- exclusion from admission as a member
- requirement to undergo further CPA Program subjects
- a monetary fine
- withholding of results
- failure of a subject.
Refer to the academic misconduct policy for the process and procedures for identifying, investigating and responding to incidents of Academic Misconduct.
CPA PROGRAM EXAM POLICIES AND AGREEMENTS