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Exam Administrator best practices for ethical use of Proctorio

In September 2020 Proctorio partnered with BABL AI, a bias research consultancy that studies the ethical production and deployment of machine learning to audit and help in the development of Proctorio best practices for test takers and exam administrators.

The following is a list of best practices for exam administrators and institutions to implement in an effort to mitigate potential hardship for test takers utilizing the Proctorio platform.

Exercise Clear Communication:

Exam administrators can prepare test takers for what they should expect to encounter during the exam to alleviate the stress of the unknown and allay worries that may result from a misunderstanding of how Proctorio works. This can include walking test takers visually through the exam monitoring process and clearly explaining the following:

  • what happens at each step of the exam proctoring process and why these steps are being taken;
  • what Proctorio does and does not have access to on the test taker’s device;
  • that Procorio does not continue running after the exam is completed;
  • how the ID check and face detection process works (including appropriate lighting requirements);
  • who does and who does not have access to test-taker exam recordings;
  • that the primary purpose of the Proctorio is to identify behavior that indicates access to unauthorized material or other persons;
  • that the exam administrator makes the final determination of whether an integrity violation has occurred, and does so only after carefully reviewing the recording;
  • what test takers should do if the exam is terminated prematurely.

Proctorio provides drafted syllabus language regarding Proctorio, based on the location of their institution, to exam administrators within our Help Center. These syllabi can be accessed here.

Create Practice Exams:

Ideally, exam administrators can provide opportunities for, or perhaps even require, test takers to take a practice exam prior to graded exams. These practice exams should mimic the format and basic requirements of the graded exam. Practice exams familiarizes test takers with the remote proctoring process and gives them an opportunity to spot any potential issues and ask for guidance prior to any graded exams. It is encouraged for exam administrators to take Proctorio-enabled practice exams themselves to see the Proctorio experience from the test taker’s perspective.

Enabling and creating Practice Exams typically do not come as an extra cost for exam administrators or partnered institutions.

Clear Guidance on Integrity Violations:

Exam administrators should provide clear guidance to test takers on the penalties for exam integrity violations, the procedures following cases of suspected integrity violations, and on the rights, resources, and contacts test-takers have available to them in case of suspected integrity violations.

Conduct a Thorough Review of Recordings:

Exam administrators should review and analyze exam recordings before making any exam integrity decisions. Behavior flags curated by the Proctorio’s Automated or Live Proctoring Services require a closer review of the recordings and are not an indication of the likelihood of an integrity violation.

Respect Religious/Cultural Beliefs:

Proctorio stands against the use of its software in any manner that forces test takers to remove or alter clothing and/or coverings and/or appearance that adhere to their religious or cultural belief systems. If exam administrators have enabled the “Verify Video” setting, obstructive face coverings may interfere with the system’s ability to verify the test-taker’s presence. When this occurs, exam administrators should make accommodations accordingly.

Bathroom Breaks:

When appropriate include considerations for restroom or general breaks and communicate those considerations in the exam instructions and syllabus. This can be especially helpful for longer or more complicated exams with higher stakes.

Best Practices with Exam Settings:

The following exam settings can potentially cause discomfort for test takers and should be enabled with careful consideration. Please see the following best practices for each exam setting:

Periodic Room Scan:

Periodic Room Scans can potentially record symbols, pictures, objects, etc., in the test taker’s personal space that may reveal the test taker’s identity (class, sexual orientation, religion, political views, etc.) or personal aspects of their life. Exam Administrators should utilize the room scan feature only in relatively high-stakes testing contexts and only if the benefit of its use is worth the increased associated risks.

Automated or Live ID Verification:

When possible, exam administrators should avoid ID verification processes (both Automated and Live) unless the institution issues and accepts institutional ID cards free of sensitive personal identifiable information such as address and birth date. This excludes cases where such personal information is required for the exam (e.g. certification exams). Please note that the ID verification process may be difficult or impossible for select test takers.

Exam Agreement:

Studies show that adding an honor code or Exam Agreement to the exam process and requiring students to sign it can encourage test takers to refrain from breaching the integrity of assessments. These Exam Agreements can be enabled on a per-exam basis with the Verify Signature exam setting and can be customized to include your intents to secure your exam content and validate the integrity of your course and assessments.

Exam Flexibility:

Some test takers may request or require alternate arrangements or modes of assessment, in a way that is in line with your institution’s policy. Proctorio can be enabled or disabled on a per-exam or per-user basis depending on the assessment platform. This requires the test taker to take the exam at a testing center or with an institution-approved human proctor.

Alternate forms or modes of the assessment can also include making appropriate adjustments to the enabled or disabled exam settings that account for test takers with a range of abilities or who may be taking exams in differing circumstances.

Enabling Individualized Accommodation Settings:

Institutions should make available alternative arrangements, modes of assessment, or adjustments to the platform’s exam settings for test takers with varying levels of abilities, consistent with all relevant regulations.

Proctorio’s Accommodation Settings can be enabled based on the individual test taker, a group of test takers, the test taker’s level of ability, or the exam itself. These settings allow further customization to fit the test takers, exam administrator’s, and intuition’s needs.

We also recommend sharing information regarding remotely-proctored and online exam alternatives with test takers.

By engaging in these Proctorio best practices, exam administrators can more fully utilize the Proctorio suite of customizable settings and features to the best of their and their test takers’ advantages.

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