AST was recently asked for an opinion about online examinations for certification bodies, specifically online Bar Exams. 

Our conclusion is that to properly serve their technical and social purposes, online examinations must be administered in a fair and unbiased manner. They should not be difficult to undergo for people of modest means, and their administration should not create additional stress on already stressed examinees due to implementation or technology. Any gatekeeping these exams represent must be based strictly on merit. 

No candidate should fail an exam other than on merit. Failure grades because of equipment barriers, power outages, the widely known unreliability of the Internet, or inherent racial and class biases in algorithms and examination methodologies are unfair to both the candidates and society as a whole.

If an examination as currently planned can’t meet these requirements for all examinees, then it should not proceed. Even during COVID-19, there are methods to administer in-person exams. Decisions about how to administer exams should be made to best accommodate examiners AND examinees.    

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