Remote, or online, proctoring allows students to take an assessment (e.g., a quiz, an exam) in a different location than the physical Saint Louis University classroom or testing center. SLU instructors may choose to use remote proctoring to protect the integrity of their assessments, help prevent cheating, and/or verify that the person taking an exam/quiz is the student enrolled in the course.
There are various remote proctoring products in use at SLU. Some remote proctoring programs use a live proctor to watch students take an exam via web camera. These programs may require the student to perform a “room sweep” before beginning the exam to assure the proctor that the student is alone and doesn’t have notes or other materials on their desk. Some remote proctoring programs are based on artificial intelligence, recording a student’s mannerisms, facial features and keystrokes during an exam. Many programs capture audio, video and/or screenshots of the student while they are taking the exam.
While there may be compelling reasons to use them, remote proctoring tools also raise a number of questions and concerns among faculty, students and administrators. Therefore, a group of SLU faculty and staff developed guidance and suggestions for both instructors and students regarding the use of such tools. The guidance identifies some of the ethical, equity and accessibility concerns around using remote proctoring tools and offers guidelines for instructors and students in using such tools.
Instructors interested in using a remote proctoring tool may contact Information Technology Services or consult their college/school technology coordinator to discuss what is available for their courses.
In addition to the information below, this site contains guidance for faculty on using remote proctoring tools (including a set of frequently asked questions) and guidance for students whose instructors use remote proctoring tools in a course.
Why Might Instructors Use Remote Proctoring Tools?
There are a variety of reasons for using remote proctoring, including, but not limited to:
- The student is in quarantine/isolation for medical reasons.
- The course is offered online.
- The student cannot be physically present on the exam day/time.
- The instructor cannot be present on the exam day/time.
- The course has exams that need to be scheduled outside of regular exam time. This is of special concern in courses with multiple sections requiring one common exam time.
What Are the Main Issues of Concern Around Using Remote Proctoring Tools?
Regardless of the method of proctoring utilized, SLU faculty have raised concerns about privacy, academic honesty, equity and accessibility. Such concerns include, but are not limited to:
- Privacy issues for students: students may not have access to a private space; students may not feel comfortable showing their living environment during a room sweep, etc.
- Ethical issues associated with recording: Are the recordings retained past a certain date? Who can access them?
- Questions about live proctoring: Who are the live proctors working for third-party companies? How are they screened?
- Cost for students: some academic units pay for the remote proctoring tool but recoup that cost by charging students a fee per exam.
- Technology access concerns for students: students may not have a computer and/or the technology required to run the proctoring software; not all personal computers can handle a webcam, etc.
- Internet access concerns for students: if students have poor internet connectivity, technology failures may occur during the exam; the proctoring software might add to the bandwidth load and interfere with the exam software, etc.
- Equity issues related to facial recognition: generally speaking, many technologies that rely on video are calibrated for white skin, potentially putting BIPOC students at a disadvantage.
- Accessibility concerns for students with disabilities: some remote proctoring tools may not allow for certain testing accommodations (e.g., breaks, use of electronic devices for medical needs); certain disabilities/diagnoses may cause tics/tremors/flare-ups that result in false alerts; etc.
- Other concerns:
- The use of remote proctoring tools may add to test anxiety for students.
- Depending on the course context, students may not have opportunities for a low-stakes practice session using remote proctoring software before a high-stakes exam is conducted using the proctoring software.