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The Downside of Online Test Monitoring

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Aug 11, 2021 | 0 Comments

College students across the country are crossing their fingers that returning to campus means the end of the use of online proctoring applications like Proctorio, ProctorU, Examity, and ExamSoft. Initially, this software seemed like a viable solution to an overarching university concern — how do we prevent cheating while students take exams from home?

However, with the increased use of online proctoring software came an even bigger wave of privacy issues, concerns about disparities for marginalized groups, complaints, protests, and even anti-online-proctoring Twitter accounts. Colleges thought they found an answer to one of the most concerning problems for University professors. Instead, they unknowingly enrolled in a masterclass on what can happen if protecting students' rights isn't at the forefront of any initiative.

Privacy Concerns

In the spring of 2020, the online proctoring application Proctorio banned a University of British Columbia undergraduate student from entering an exam after her room failed to pass a room scan. The student complained about the company's delay in customer support response on Reddit. A user named "artfulhacker" then claimed the student's post was "fake news" and proceeded to publish the student's chat log with the company to the site.

It turns out that "artfulhacker" was Proctorio's CEO, Mike Olsen. Though Olsen publicly apologized for the incident, it brought to light serious privacy concerns. Proctoring applications claim that student data taken during exams isn't accessible by staff. However, Olsen's post on Reddit demonstrated that those claims are likely untrue. These applications collect both personal and biometric data. Now, there are serious concerns as to whether these companies properly guard the data they collect.

Civil Rights Concerns

Students with dark skin have repeatedly reported that online proctoring applications fail to recognize their faces. Because of this failure, dark-skinned students have been kicked out of exams or barred from taking them.

Low-income and transgender students have been negatively impacted by the software too. Low-income students have been flagged for unsteady wifi, taking tests in rooms with family members, and have been forced to take tests in public libraries without masks. Transgender students have been outed by the software's ID verification procedures. And students from all walks of life have been flagged for everything from stretching to "moving too much." With each new incident, students report increased anxiety and the loss of valuable test-taking time.

Accessibility Concerns

Students with disabilities also are disadvantaged by the monitoring software. The applications either block the software disabled students need to take exams electronically or eject them from the test if they try to use workarounds.

Rather than addressing these issues with the software companies, some universities are putting the responsibility on the students, telling them that they need to advocate for accommodations. However, there doesn't seem to be any clear guidelines for making sure those accommodations work with proctoring software.

Protect Your Rights As A Student

If you've been accused of online cheating based on data collected by proctoring software, attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm can help. Joseph D. Lento has unparalleled experience defending students accused of academic misconduct across the country. If you're facing charges, let him help you ensure your rights. Call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 or contact us to schedule a private consultation today.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients nationwide. Attorney Lento and his team represent students and others in disciplinary cases and various other proceedings at colleges and universities across the United States. Attorney Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand colleges and universities across the United States, and when necessary, he and his team have sought justice on behalf of clients in courts across the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide, and he can help you or your student address any school-related issue or concern anywhere in the United States.

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