Exploring The Ethics Of Artificial Intelligence In Remote Testing

Exploring The Ethics Of Artificial Intelligence In Remote Testing


Lockdowns and closed schools have ensued since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, creating a growing demand for online exam proctoring services as most courses are taught remotely. According to an April 2020 study by Educause, about 54% of institutions are currently using online or remote proctoring services for exams. 

Although innovation in the industry has already been transforming the way organizations and higher education administer exams, remote proctoring struggles with transparency, data privacy, and biased artificial intelligence (AI). By addressing these challenges, the industry can work with organizations and test takers to ensure an equitable exam experience for all stakeholders.

Many remote proctoring services use AI-powered auto proctoring as the sole method of detection. Not only is AI imperfect, it can actually trigger flags for mundane movements or any exam environment that deviates from the recommended well-lit, quiet space with sufficient bandwidth. 

Some students with darker skin tones have reported that the online proctoring programs they used would not allow them to verify their identity to begin an exam or could not recognize their facial features and paused their exam. Furthermore, any movements that obscure a test taker’s face from the camera may result in a flagged incident. To address these issues, some companies have sought help from technology consulting firms to identify possible sources of bias in AI-enabled proctoring.

By pairing AI proctoring with human proctors, we can ensure these flags do not immediately result in disciplinary action without further examination. Many students have reported feeling stressed because they are being monitored during exam sessions. Features like the ability to chat or call a proctor allows students to explain unforeseen circumstances during the exam sessions as well, so they do not feel at the mercy of AI. Students may also log into a session again if their session is interrupted, ensuring that connectivity issues will not severely impact their experience.

AI auto proctoring services do not replace human interaction and AI feedback on incident reporting should always be reviewed by human proctors.

Furthermore, many remote proctoring services request personal data like Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, fingerprints, retina scans, IP addresses, and video recordings for identification purposes, resulting in growing concerns about data privacy. To promote integrity and accountability, remote proctoring services should effectively train proctors and staff. It is crucial that test taker information is maintained securely, provided only to select administration, and removed from the cloud when no longer needed. Higher education and licensing organizations should always have the ability to customize what information they deem necessary from test takers, using adjustable remote proctoring service platforms with various features.

Other concerns may include the discomfort of having unfamiliar proctors monitoring students during exam sessions. Proctor360 offers our Institutional SaaS remote proctoring solution which provides our software platform for the personal proctoring staff of organizations or institutions, as well as  training and certification programs for these proctors.

Some remote proctoring services require proctors to input an exam passcode in order to allow a test taker to start an exam and may request control of their computer. Proctor360 offers a Google Chrome extension that students can download for these passcodes-- a less intrusive option that bypasses the need for remote control of a test taker’s computer.

Some recent studies have suggested that students may be more likely to cheat on exams that are unproctored, rather than proctored, with high-profile scandals at schools like Georgia Institute of Technology, Boston University, and West Point. Despite imperfections in current AI proctoring technology, remote proctoring services can level the playing field by discouraging cheating.

Furthermore, remote proctoring services may also offer more flexibility as test takers can take exams in the comfort of their homes and these services often accommodate various schedules within business hours as well. 

By removing the need for in-person proctors, paper copies of exams, and physical testing centers, online proctoring services may be cheaper as well. Proctor360 offers various services, making remote testing more accessible for higher education and certification organizations and their students. 

With a developing interest for online test administration comes scrutiny of the ethical practices of using AI. Online proctoring services must reexamine the ethics of Artificial Intelligence in remote testing in order to be inclusive of all test takers, while maintaining the academic integrity that tests require.

Yvonne Pan - Proctor360 Content Creator


Author Bio

Yvonne Pan is a content creator for Proctor360 and studies civil engineering at Case Western University.

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