By Gio Olavarria, Chief Revenue Officer
As Covid-19 restrictions begin to disappear, so do many academic institutions’ plans to offer online learning opportunities. This comes as unwelcome news to many students who have experienced the benefits of remote education and threatens to create significant barriers to academic success. By understanding the benefits of online proctoring of exams at home, institutions will be better equipped to offer the kinds of learning experiences necessary to attract, retain, and support students.
The world is re-opening and in-person testing is quickly becoming an option once again, leaving some institutions to reconsider whether remote testing should remain an option. Often, the reluctance to maintain online options comes from a distrust in online proctoring of exams at home, especially as proctoring platforms continue to garner controversy. But a robust online proctoring system is not only a powerful tool in deterring cheating, it can also ethically address the challenges of in-person test-taking.
From the cost of transportation to finding reliable childcare, students face a host of barriers when exams must be taken in specific testing locations. Low-income students, students with mobility issues, and those who are balancing school with work or family obligations are disproportionately affected, and logistical challenges may keep some from reaching their academic goals entirely.
Solution: One of the greatest benefits of online proctoring of exams at home is convenience. With reliable remote testing, students can access exams from virtually anywhere and, often, at a time that works for them. This is especially valuable at a time when Covid-19 has caused enormous upheavals in living arrangements, childcare opportunities, work schedules, financial stability, and willingness to enter public spaces.
In-person testing requires students to test in an exam room that is much different from their bedroom or home office. This may not allow students to perform at their best; an uncomfortable testing environment can lead to distracted test-taking and test scores that reflect the effects of anxiety rather than accurately assess a student’s knowledge. Using school computers or devices can complicate things further, as students may not feel comfortable using unfamiliar technology.
Solution: Test anxiety is exceedingly common and may be heightened if students are required to take exams in the classroom. For many students, eliminating the need for face-to-face engagement and reducing social interaction can help calm nerves and allow them to better focus on the task at hand. Online proctoring of exams at home provides a more comfortable experience and uses technologies with which students feel confident.
Although in-person testing is often assumed to be superior in preventing cheating and ensuring academic integrity, this is a misconception. After all, a human proctor can’t be looking at everyone all the time, and student misbehavior and test violations can easily be missed.
There is also a much more serious downside to relying on human proctors in the classroom: human bias. According to a 2018 field experiment conducted by researchers at the Stanford Center for Education Policy Analysis, women and minority students face a variety of discriminatory practices when in traditional classrooms. This includes uneven application of proctoring, which has profound implications for both individuals and larger communities.
Solution: Online proctoring software can reduce bias by keeping test-takers invisible to human proctors. With an advanced human-in-the-loop system, potential violations are initially evaluated by AI trained on high-quality datasets that include people of all skin tones, genders, ethnicities, and neurotypes to prevent discrimination and improve the reliability of results. Only when a potential is flagged is it passed on to a human proctor for review.
The move to widespread remote learning has not been without hiccups. In the beginning, both students and institutions often struggled to adapt to online environments. But what about now? Do students want to continue remote learning? Research shows that the answer is a resounding “yes.”
According to a survey published earlier this year, 73% of students said they would like to take fully online courses in the future, while 68% indicated they would be interested in taking courses with a combination of in-person and online instruction. Furthermore, 57% said they felt more positive about online learning now than before the pandemic, and 47% said their attitude toward online exam proctoring had improved.
These numbers are a strong indication of what students want the future of education to look like. By keeping and expanding online testing options, students can continue to benefit from the remote learning environments to which they are now accustomed and that help them move closer to their goals. At a time when students have more choices than ever before, institutions that recognize the value of online learning will be well-positioned to attract and retain students.
Online proctoring of exams at home is transforming higher education and opening up new opportunities for students around the world. Realizing these opportunities requires choosing the right proctoring system. Rosalyn combines AI with human wisdom to deliver fair and comfortable experiences for all students. With state-of-the-art technology and deep insight into student needs, we offer user-friendly, scalable, and secure solutions that strengthen academic integrity, protect student dignity, and allow institutions to stay responsive in a changing world.