RD545 - Online End-of-Course Testing Study – 2018 Report – December 2018

  • Published: 2018
  • Author: Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Enabling Authority: Rules of the Senate of Virginia - Rule 20 (o) (2018)

Executive Summary:

During the 2018 General Assembly Session, two bills were introduced to permit DMV licensed driver training schools to conduct remote online end-of-course testing for computer-based driver education courses. DMV supported studying this issue because the agency has minimal experience in administering online testing in remote environments, and needed to better understand the technology necessary to ensure the security and integrity of the test, if remote online testing were permitted. Subsequently, Chairmen of the House and Senate Committees on Transportation charged DMV with studying the feasibility of administering remote online end-of-course testing for computer-based driver education courses, what standards would be needed for such testing, and how to implement standards that would maintain test integrity and security.(*1) As a result of the need to study the issue, House Bill 1077 (HB 1077) was left in the House Committee on Transportation and Senate Bill 889 (SB 889) was stricken at the request of the patron.

To fulfill the General Assembly’s request, DMV formed an internal team to gather and analyze relevant research and information. DMV convened a study group consisting of the DMV internal team and relevant stakeholders from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), the Virginia State Police, the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association, representatives from the insurance industry, highway safety advocates, owners and operators of driver training schools licensed to offer driver education courses in Virginia, and representatives from the Virginia Driver Education and Traffic Safety Schools (VADETS). The stakeholders met twice to discuss the General Assembly’s directive and whether or not to recommend changes to the current end-of-course testing standards for computer-based driver education courses.

The stakeholder group was provided with information related to the driver education program administered by DMV licensed driver training schools, secure testing and the Standards of Learning (SOL) Assessment Program administered by VDOE, and Commonwealth of Virginia Technology Risk Management Standards. DMV and the stakeholder group also considered information related to how and if remote online testing has been administered in other jurisdictions, a measure of the programs’ success, issues that arose when implementing such programs, auditing and monitoring methods used to ensure the integrity of the tests, and the overall cost to the licensing agency. Additionally, DMV and stakeholder participants discussed various information technology (IT) security and monitoring methods that would help maintain the security and integrity of end-of-course tests for computer-based driver education courses, should driver training schools be allowed to conduct remote online testing.

After analysis of the relevant research and stakeholder discussion, the study team could not reach a consensus to allow remote online end-of-course testing for computer-based driver education courses. DMV and a majority of the members of the stakeholder group believe the current standards and Code of Virginia provisions governing computer-based driver education provide a sufficient level of oversight, protection, and control over the end-of-course test. Though numerous IT security methods and controls were considered by the stakeholder group that would potentially enhance remote online test integrity, DMV and a majority of stakeholders did not feel those controls or methods would provide an equal level of assurance that is demonstrated by the current standards requiring in-person, proctored end-of-course tests. Thus, DMV and the study group recommend no changes be made to the current standards related to end-of-course testing for driver education, believing the current standards are needed to maintain the program security and integrity.

If the General Assembly moves forward with legislation allowing for remote online end-of-course testing for computer-based driver education courses, DMV, in accordance with stakeholder feedback and input, has identified recommended IT security compliance and risk standards. These recommended controls, standards, and methods are included to assist in providing some degree of test integrity, security, and control should remote online testing be authorized. However, DMV and the majority of the stakeholders believe these methods would not eliminate the potential for students to receive or obtain assistance on the final exam, thus, undermining the integrity of the test.
(*1) See Appendix A for charge letters from Chairmen of the House and Senate Committees on Transportation.