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The 6 Biggest Aspects to Consider in Selecting a Proctoring Service

Ian Hartley


March 25, 2023

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With many schools thinking about switching their proctoring provider this fall, administrators are weighing the pros and cons of various services. As a leader in the online proctoring space, Wise has researched the market extensively, and has identified several key points that affect the experience of administrators, instructors, and students when using a proctoring platform.

In 2020 with the COVID-19 related lockdowns, many schools rushed to find a provider for online proctoring services, if they didn’t already have one, that would be able to accommodate their needs for rapidly shifting classes and assessments online. During this process, many schools signed multi-year agreements with well-known proctoring providers and are now looking to make a switch to newer and more innovative proctoring platforms, after encountering issues with usability, privacy concerns and more. Other schools are not locked in to multi-year agreements, but are simply using the same service they purchased back in 2020.

However, proctoring services have come a long way in the last few years, with many new and innovative market participants joining the space, and solving a lot of the typical challenges that schools, instructors, and students faced with legacy proctoring services. So – as schools are looking to make a switch this Fall, what are the key points that administrators should consider?


What people are Saying

Although it may be surprising given the amount of time many proctoring companies have been in existence, usability is one of the most commonly cited issues that instructors and students face with Proctoring services. Creating additional barriers on test day is at least, an additional stress for instructors and students, and at worst, something that can materially impact student performance or ability to take the test at all. Many of the old-school ways of proctoring include “LockDown Browsers” or “Fully Automated” systems which require clunky installed on-device software that needs to be regularly maintained by IT, and in some cases ‘kicks’ students out of their examinations if flags are detected, which is vulnerable to false-positives and creates examination disruptions for students, and additional hassle for instructors. Compatibility with a variety of devices and LMS systems has also been cited as a key issue, leaving students with some devices, like Chromebooks, simply unable to download and use proctoring software. When it comes to proctoring, usability and compatibility for every user isn't simply a nice to have, it's an essential for implementation.

What’s the solution?

Many next-gen proctoring tools, such as Wise Proctor, provide a 100% online product with no software-installation required, and an emphasis on a easy-to-use interface. This structure means that proctoring works for every student, regardless of what computer they have, and frees up IT and instructors from dealing with a wave of usability related complaints. It also removes the objection that “it doesn’t work…” from students who wish to be excepted from using proctoring. Further, an ultra-simple user interface means that even newcomers to the platform are able to quickly and easily understand how to use it.

Proctoring Method (i.e. Live, Automated AI, Record-and-Review)

What People are Saying

Back when the first remote proctoring service was introduced by Kryterion in 2006, the standard for proctoring was live, human proctoring over webcam. Times have changed quite a bit since then, with many new companies entering the space, which focus on a variety of different methods, such as fully automated proctoring, or ‘record-and-review’ type proctoring. Chances are, if you’re reading this article, you’re probably familiar with at least one of these types of proctoring. However, as times have changed and the world has become increasingly digital over the past nearly 20 years since live online proctoring was the standard, many schools are encountering challenges with going about things the ‘traditional’ way. Live human proctoring has been met with significant concerns around privacy, test-taker flexibility, and usually has significant IT requirements such as on-device remote-control software. Furthermore, many students are simply extremely uncomfortable with someone watching them, one-on-one over the internet, and being asked to show this stranger their ID Card, and show them around their room. Certainly, I know that I would not want to show a stranger over the internet, any of these things!Furthermore, schools are relying on non-faculty individuals to make academic assessments about students, and fairly proctor exams, when most live proctors are hired en-masse by live proctoring companies with limited training and academic background. Automated AI Proctoring and LockDown Browsers have been championed as a solution to invasive and clunky Live Proctoring, but have their own host of significant challenges, with many instructors criticizing their accuracy in identifying academic dishonesty, and their rate of false positives in unfairly kicking students out of exams. Furthermore, LockDown Browsers are extremely easy for students to bypass, by simply using a second device which the majority of students have access to, either with their own smartphone, or that of a relative or friend. Record-and-Review platforms solve the majority of the problems faced by live and automated AI proctoring, by enabling asynchronous testing, and allowing instructors to make academic determinations, instead of an automated system. However, record-and-review platforms have been criticized for requiring instructors to manually review all student videos for academic dishonesty.

What’s the Solution?

Some proctoring companies, like Wise Proctor, are blending the best parts about Automated AI Proctoring with Record-and-review platforms. These platforms might be called AI-assisted review proctoring tools, as they offer asynchronous testing, non-invasive but comprehensive flagging of academic dishonesty, and enabling instructors to make academic determinations. In these platforms, an AI system automatically flags students to instructors in real-time and discretely, and instructors can jump directly to the exact moment of a flag for each student, without having to watch an entire video. In these systems, if a false positive does occur, there is no disruption to the test taker, or to the instructor, unlike with other fully automated platforms. As with most technological solutions, the best way to go about things is neither all by hand, or fully automated, but rather a blend of automation and humanity.


What people are Saying

Student privacy has been one of the largest concerns in the use of remote proctoring since its inception in 2006. As fully automated and AI powered platforms, some of which are internationally based, have proliferated throughout K12 and Higher Education, many faculty and students alike are asking important questions about where all this data is being stored, and what it’s being used for. Over the past several years, there have been a variety of high-profile cases and allegations about proctoring companies misusing or selling student data for financial gain.

What’s the Solution?

While it can be somewhat challenging to make a determination about whether a proctoring company is selling or misusing student data, there are some related metrics we can look at to make a highly educated guess. If proctoring companies are based in the US, focus specifically on providing educational software and tools (not larger companies), are privately owned by those focused in the education space (not owned by a private-equity fund or other investor), and champion privacy in their interactions with the educational community, they are among the most likely companies to be committed to upholding student privacy. If a proctoring service is extremely inexpensive, or even free, the company must be making enough money to survive in some way, and it’s prudent to consider how and where the company is obtaining the revenue they need to survive. From our perspective at Wise, it’s pretty simple – we’re a proctoring company focused on delivering a high-quality education-focused service. We sell the service, and that’s how we make our revenue. We feel strongly that every company in the space should be doing the same.

Integration with LMS Systems

What people are saying

It’s always great when your new technology integrates directly into your LMS… or is it?In a perfect world, this integrated technology works beautifully and seamlessly, and instructors feel right at home using it within the LMS. However, having an LMS integration doesn’t always guarantee a better end-user experience, and in some cases can pose additional challenges. Schools are realizing that many companies can simply offer an LMS integration to make a sale, but completely abandon post-sale support, and run into a buggy system that is frustrating to use within their LMS.

What’s the solution?

If your new proctoring service claims to be LMS integrated, put it to the test!Ask the sales representative to set up a proctoring session and walk you through the process of creating a test on the LMS and then taking it from a student’s perspective. Carefully examine the process to see how easy it really is, and if you can, have them let you do it yourself over a guided demo!This is something that every company should provide when offering a demo of an LMS integrated solution. Next, ask yourself if the LMS integration is really something that’s required. Yes, having all the apps right within the LMS is definitely a nice-to-have, but in some cases, it might be just as easy, or easier to let users just visit the proctoring web app directly. At Wise, we offer both of these types of use. Our service has been designed to be extremely usable without an LMS integration, as professors can setup a proctoring session in just 4 clicks total, and students can enter into an exam in only 2 clicks. We also, however, have developed custom integrations for clients who want the LMS integration to fulfill requirements or use-cases that wouldn’t be covered by a standard LMS integration. In a nutshell – look beyond the tagline ‘LMS integrated’ and see what it means, and whether it’s something that’s even necessary.

Level of Support

What people are saying

Let’s face it – one way or another – someone’s doing the support for the proctoring platform. Either the support tech is going to be your own internal IT department, your instructors, or it’s going to be taken care of by the proctoring company who created the product. While it’s obvious to most buyers that the proctoring company should be the one offering support, this doesn’t always happen. Companies don’t often like to offer great support for two main reasons: 1. They haven’t invested in making their platform bug-free, and 2. It’s simply expensive to hire support people. This is usually reflected in platform pricing, and as many schools have used price as a weight in their choice of a proctoring platform, they have experienced significant support challenges that are unanswered in-time by the company, and have fallen to the shoulders of their IT department and their instructors to solve. Situations like this only give proctoring a bad name, and give students an easy ‘out’ to excuse themselves from using proctoring altogether, thus creating an unfair playing field for assessments. Furthermore, IT and instructors don’t want to have to waste their time trying to troubleshoot yet another platform that just simply doesn’t work.

What’s the Solution?

Administrators need to choose proctoring services that offer US based, 24/7 phone and email support for every user, and yes, that means students too!If a company is unwilling to offer US based 24/7 phone support for students, instructors, and administrators, it’s likely because the cost of doing so would be too great, and thus likely implies that their platform is buggy and/or encounters a lot of support requests. To contrast, at Wise, we do offer 24/7 phone and email support, based in the US, for every user, and are only able to afford to do this because we receive so few support requests. Nevertheless, our support systems are instantly scalable to accommodate a large influx of requests as has happened from time-to-time when there has been an acute issue with a particular proctoring session. Our thesis is to be the first line of defense in solving any and every issue that a test taker could have, in a non-stressful and collegial manner. We get that testing can be stressful on students and we’re here to help it be as convenient of an experience as possible. Our goal is that instructors and IT never have to field a single question or complaint about Wise, and often, we are successful in achieving this goal.


What People are Saying

When it comes to proctoring, as with many things (with notable exceptions including Wine, Art, and Literature), you get what you pay for!That is not to say, however, that the most expensive solution on the market is always the best, but rather, that looking at price in context of the above five points can help to paint a better picture of the kind of service you can expect from a proctoring company. Many schools have used the tried-and-true RFP process to weight a variety of factors in their purchase decision and have been swayed by attractive lower bids on proctoring services, which have seen the school or district stuck with a platform that is offering a low quality of service over a multi-year contract. Other schools have implemented ultra-low cost ‘band-aids’ to the proctoring problem, such as LockDown browsers, that ultimately do very little, if anything, to prevent academic dishonesty, and at worst could be seen to increase academic inequity by enabling wealthier students with multiple devices to cheat more easily.

What’s the Solution?

A proctoring service that is priced in-line with the other ‘premium’ services on the market will likely save you money in the long run, by saving the IT department and instructors time, and removing the headache of re-selecting a new proctoring service, when the old one doesn’t work out. Flexibility in pricing to meet your school’s budget is another green-flag for services. At Wise, we understand that usually there’s only a limited amount of funding available and we strive to fit within the budget of all our partner schools, without compromising on quality. Ultimately, we’ll never offer a price that means that we’re unable to provide the high level of service that people associate with Wise, and we’ll be straightforward on what’s possible with pricing to try and help the most schools gain access to Wise as possible.

If you’re thinking about switching your proctoring service this Fall, these are a few important considerations that make a key difference in whether a new service will be a success.

If you’re interested in learning more about using Wise Proctor, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (818) 641-5936, or contact us at sales@wiseeducationsystems.com, and we’ll be happy to walk you through a hands-on demo, provide a quote for you, or simply answer questions about the state of proctoring in general. We look forward to connecting.

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