Prctr : Online Exam Invigilation

what does a proctor do?

What does a proctor do in an exam?

Previously, we’ve talked about what a proctored exam is, and how they work – but none of that explains exactly what a proctor does during an exam.  How does having a proctor help you in a remote exam situation, and is a live proctor better than using automated proctors?

In this article we take a long at some of the questions we get asked frequently, and help you decide what proctoring process might be best for you.

Automated Proctoring: What is it?

Quite simply, automated proctoring does precisely what it says on the tin: it is an automated, hands-off service.  The student logs on, confirms their identity and then they are left to complete their exam.  The entire examination process is recorded, and they are monitored by AI technology.  Once the exam session is completed, someone will review the recording and prepare a report for the instructor which will flag any potential areas of concern.  The instructor will then have the opportunity to review the recording to determine if any actions needs to be taken.

The Positives

There’s no doubt this is a hugely convenient way to proctor exams – there is no requirement to book in advance or coordinate schedules.  The student simply sits the exam, literally at any time of day or night, depending on their preferences.  All the information is available to the instructor, and any issues can be reviewed and handled accordingly.  Should rules be broken, then the recording will provide suitable evidence for any potential disciplinary procedures that need to be handled.

The Drawbacks

All that said, automated proctoring is not a perfect solution.  Should an issue occur, it can take some time for it to be flagged as the recordings must be reviewed, a report written, read by the instructor, who then reviews the recording themselves and … weeks could pass, depending on how many students are involved in a particular examination scenario.

If a minor infraction has taken place, or there is an issue with the exam from the student’s perspective, there is no one available for them to speak to in real time.  That may mean having to cancel an exam in the middle of a sitting, or completing it only to find out it’s been discounted due to errors at a later date.  This is exceptionally frustrating for everyone involved.

What about live proctoring?

Again, this is exactly as you would expect – a real-live human being will proctor the exam, in real time.  Usually, the session is also recorded as a double-check facility, so that if there are any issues, the instructor can still review the information at a later date.

Potential issues

In some situations, a proctor will be responsible for monitoring a number of exams that are taking place at the same time. This means that their attention will be split, and as a result, there is always the chance they may miss an issue or infraction. Of course, this is often true of exams sat in examination centres or educational institutions – no system is entirely fool-proof.  The key here is to talk to the proctor provider to establish what their set-up is and whether they will be recording sessions for additional security.

The upside

There is absolutely no replacement for real-time intervention when it comes to ensuring the integrity of exams.  A live proctor is on hand to immediately intervene should a problem arise, and act accordingly.  This can make a huge difference, and often allows instructors to feel more confident about the potential outcome of the exam process. Equally, they are still required to write a report and provide the recording of the session, so there is minimal chance of there ever being a problem.