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What is remote proctoring and how does it work?

Everything you need to know about remote proctoring and how it works.

What is remote proctoring?

Remote proctoring, or online proctoring, uses software and/or live remote proctors to:

  • Record and monitor test takers’ behavior
  • Verify identity
  • Protect test content
  • Prevent cheating

How does remote proctoring work?

  • Before the exams start: test takers normally use the webcam to verify their identity and scan the room for unauthorized resources, like cell phones, notes, and even other people.
  • During the exams: test takers are monitored through video, audio, and other AI proctoring tools and/or a live remote proctor, depending on the service.
  • After the exams: ideally, the proctoring service will provide test admins with time-stamped reports with recordings of flagged behavior to review.
  • LMS integration: the remote proctoring platform should integrate directly with the LMS, which improves security, doesn’t require extra passwords and logins, and basically makes it the same experience with the exception of a few clicks (instructors just click to choose the proctoring features they want to use and test takers login to the LMS and take the test in the same environment).

Remote proctoring software tools & features

Standard tools and features in remote proctoring software

  • Video monitoring: uses the webcam to record behavior during the proctored exam.
  • Browser lockdown: prevents access to other browsers and applications, and restricts keyboard shortcuts.
  • Sound detection: flags most noises during exams, such as talking, music, dogs barking, etc. Different from voice detection.
  • ID verification: uses the webcam to verify identity before the exam.

Advanced remote proctoring tools & features

In addition to the standard tools above, some remote proctoring companies offer advanced tools and features:

  • Cell phone detection: detects when test takers try to use cell phones and other devices during proctored exams and the presence of Apple devices in the testing area.
  • Smart Voice Detection: listens for specific keywords and phrases that can indicate exam misconduct, like “Hey Siri,” and other commands that trigger voice assistants. Then, it records the audio and provides a transcript of what was said. Smart Voice Detection is different from sound detection, which flags basically any noise.
  • Live Pop-In: AI-based proctoring monitors test takers and alerts a live remote proctor if it detects potential cheating. The proctor can review the behavior and decide whether to intervene or not.
  • Analytics Hub™: provides easily filterable, in-depth reports with actionable insights into test integrity that streamline review a 360-degree view of academic integrity.

Types of remote proctoring

Browser lockdown software

Entry-level proctoring software that helps prevent access to other browsers and keyboard shortcuts. 

  • Usually cheap, but you get what you pay for because it doesn’t really prevent cheating since test takers can still use their cell phones and other resources.

AI remote proctoring

Only uses artificial intelligence to monitor remote exams.

  • Offers diverse tools to monitor behavior and prevent cheating.
  • No human oversight, which can negatively impact the experience for test takers and test administrators.
    • For example, if the proctoring software uses sound detection (different from voice detection) with no live proctor: if a test taker sneezes, the AI flags the noise, and it could even kick them out of the proctored test.
    • Imagine how many unimportant noises could be flagged during tests (coughing, tapping the desk, dog barking) that admins will need to review if a human proctor isn’t there to check the AI.

Live remote proctoring

A live proctor monitors multiple test takers at once. 

  • Typically the most expensive type of remote proctoring.
  • Being watched can be distracting and stressful (and creepy) for test takers.
  • Can work well if the proctor isn’t watching too many test takers at once—rarely the case—a proctor is usually watching 10 or more test takers at once, which can make it easy to miss problematic behaviors.
  • Exam scheduling can be a hassle because test takers have to find a time that aligns with the proctor’s availability.

Blended remote proctoring

Combines live proctors with AI and browser lockdown software.

  • Locks the browser and uses AI to monitor behavior.
  • AI alerts a live proctor if it detects potential misconduct.
  • After the proctor is alerted, they can review a recording of the situation and intervene if necessary.

Who uses remote proctoring?

Remote proctoring is used in higher education and professional education.

Remote proctoring LMS integrations

Integrating remote proctoring software with your LMS can be the difference between a quick and secure implementation and one that could compromise data security and create a frustrating experience for test takers and administrators.

Proctoring platforms typically integrate with Canvas, Blackboard, Moodle, D2L, and Intellum. Some online proctoring services offer custom integration toolkits to create tailored integrations that meet your specific needs.

How much does proctoring cost?

The cost of proctoring depends on the type and the company, but keep these in mind when comparing proctoring services:
  • Look for flat-rate proctoring to avoid variable costs: unexpected costs can add up quickly if the proctoring service charges per hour for exams, so find a remote proctoring service with a flat rate cost per exam or test taker.
  • Make sure support costs are included
  • Do test takers have to pay extra to reschedule a proctored exam?

Honorlock proctoring software and services

Honorlock’s blended remote proctoring combines AI with live proctoring to make online exams simple, easy, and human in higher education and professional education.

Whether it’s detecting cell phones and voices or preventing the use of AI like ChatGPT and locking the browser, you’ll have confidence that academic integrity is protected.

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