Exploring Remote Proctoring of High Stakes Assessments

Apr 21, 2020 | Customer Solutions

We recently participated in Prometric’s demonstration of their remote proctoring system called ProProctor™.  Remote proctoring has been gaining traction as an acceptable, secure delivery method for a variety of high stakes exams.

More recently, remote proctoring has become acceptable for some credentialing examinations that were previously administered at testing centers, which are now closed due to the COVID-19 crisis.  Remote proctoring allows examinees to conveniently schedule and take an examination safely from their homes or other off-site locations and avoid the logistical hassles and inconveniences of having to appear at a testing center.

The concern for educators and administrators responsible for high stakes assessments are exam security and exam integrity. Ensuring that the results are fair, accurate and reliable over time is most important.  Frankly, cheating is always a concern. Typically, these examinations require test-takers to be at a testing location, such as a computer lab, classroom or other location, where they can be monitored as a group. These involve using controlled access computers to ensure there is no cheating or other activities that may compromise the examination.  The technologies and protocols now available with remote proctoring, including ProProctor™, offer a suitable alternative to the traditional computer lab, test center or classroom-delivered assessments.

In our ProProctor™ demo, we watched how much effort and work goes into ensuring the integrity of an examination from a remote setting.  The better remote proctoring systems, like ProProctor™, do involve having human proctors who monitor examinations remotely. Human proctors are typically responsible for monitoring six to eight examinees at one time.  These systems use a variety of technologies, processes, and protocols to ensure that exam security and integrity is protected. Our impression was that remote proctoring protects the examination process almost as well as it would be at a testing center, and probably better than a classroom or computer lab setting where the ratio of proctors to students is often not favorable.

As we learned from watching a demo of Prometric’s system, a big part of the remote proctoring process involves the initial technology set up, authentication of the exam candidate’s identity, and verification that the candidate’s examination environment strictly adheres to a stringent set of protocols. We are talking about the assessment of a candidate’s computer, capturing a candidate’s facial image for later monitoring, a thorough review of the candidate’s testing location, authentication via a government-issued ID, and including having candidates roll up their sleeves and show their ears to make sure they do not have hidden devices! During the examination, there is constant monitoring, both from human proctors as well as AI-type technologies that examine candidate movement and behavior during the assessment. Our impression was that very few candidates could or would attempt to game the system.  It is that good.

ProProctor™ will be used for early administrations of the Physician Assistant College Admissions Test (PA-CAT) as a safe alternative to testing centers. We believe Prometric’s remote proctoring system offers a robust and safe alternative for PA-CAT candidates.  Testing for the PA-CAT begins May 1st.