Proctorio: Proctored Exam Considerations

This service is for faculty and staff.

One of the many adjustments instructors have to make when course delivery moves online involves mitigating the potential for inappropriate test taking behavior when in-person proctoring is not possible. To this end, some instructors may consider using an online exam proctoring service, such as Proctorio. 

Proctorio uses software to automatically monitor the test taking environment for signs of inappropriate behavior such as suspicious eye or head movements, talking, the presence of others in the room, leaving the computer, or looking at a phone. It records the student during the exam and flags such instances. The instructor can then review a recording of the exam to determine whether the flagged instances are genuinely suspicious. Proctorio can also lock down a student’s browser and computer preventing the student from opening another program, visiting another website, or conducting other prohibited activities. 

Remote proctoring can be an effective and viable assessment option. However, when deciding whether to implement this tool in a course, instructors should be aware of important practical and ethical concerns and consider whether alternative assessment arrangements would be preferable.

Cost Considerations

  • St. Thomas pays a fee per student for each Proctorio exam out of the Office of Academic Affairs budget. Evaluate how you are using proctoring and consider whether the need justifies the expense.

Technological Considerations

  • Proctorio requires students to use a particular browser (Chrome), install an extension, and (depending on the settings) may require ca functioning webcam and microphone, all of which may present technical challenges to students and require the instructor to be ready with support, solutions, accommodations, or alternatives.
  • Expect there to be potential glitches and confusion that accompany the use of any technology. However, when using remote proctoring these complications arise while a student is in the pressure situation of an exam, adding to the stress and anxiety the student may already be facing. Have a plan in place to address potential problems and communicate this plan to students.
  • Proctorio consumes extra internet bandwidth and computer memory. Students with limited internet services or where bandwidth is in high demand (such as a household with many people online or a coffee shop) may experience significant disruptions as they attempt to take an exam. Students with older and slower computers may likewise be disadvantaged.

Equity and Privacy Considerations

  • The technological considerations mentioned above are not merely practical concerns; they also impinge on the ideal that all students are given an equitable chance to succeed regardless of personal and situational contingencies.
  • Instructors should consider whether the video and audio monitoring of students’ environments could be an unnecessary invasion of their privacy, especially when the students are required to have their webcam and microphone on and to do a video scan of their room.
  • When Proctorio is used to monitor and flag any environmental anomalies and disruptions, students who are unable to secure quiet, undisturbed environments (parents with small children, residents of busy dorm rooms or households), or who may have particular psychological or physiological characteristics (such as difficulty remaining still, a need for frequent visits to the restroom), may have their behavior “flagged” despite the lack of malicious activity.
  • There is evidence that facial recognition software and other AI algorithms can have racial, sexist, ableist, and other biases (Heilweil, 2020). There is also evidence and concern that such biases infect proctoring services as well. For example, students with darker skin have had to shine more light on their faces for the software to accurately detect their movement (Swager, 2020).
  • Students have reported significant increases in anxiety and a reduced ability to concentrate or focus knowing that they are being monitored by an impersonal algorithm (Chin, 2020).


Consult with a STELAR instructional designer if you would like to discuss alternative strategies for assessments or learn how to use Proctorio in the most effective and equitable way. Set up an appointment through STELAR Bookings and choose Final Exams and Testing.


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Article ID: 122589
Mon 12/14/20 9:10 AM
Wed 2/3/21 12:25 PM

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