The beginners guide to online remote proctoring fundamentals

Every part of our daily lives has become digitalized, and assessments are not an exception. The 2020 pandemic jumpstarted a digital revolution in both the workplace and education.  In the education sector, digitalization took place in the form of remote learning and assessments.  This led to increased demand for online assessment solutions. One such solution is online remote proctoring. In fact, according to a recent report, the global online exam proctoring market was $ 438 million and was expected to hit $1350.8 million by 2027, with a 17.% CAGR, between 2021 and 2027. 

Online remote proctoring allows examinees to take exams from a remote location while defending academic integrity. It has many benefits including the freedom for examinees to take assessments from anywhere, improved academic integrity, and reduced costs. But, despite the many benefits it brings to business and education, many people still struggle to understand and start using remote proctoring. 

This blog aims to provide you with the fundamentals of remote proctoring. 

Let’s get started!

What is remote proctoring?

Online remote proctoring refers to invigilating online assessments from a distinct location with the end goal of ensuring high academic integrity. 

Through the use of AI algorithms, real-time human proctors, or a combination of both, remote proctoring helps eliminate cheating. Some of the cheating techniques used by students include impersonation, screen mirroring, use of tech gadgets, and abetting cheating. 

For every trick used, there is a prevention measure in the remote proctoring ecosystem, depending on the assessment software you are using. To understand how remote proctoring prevents cheating, read this detailed article on digital assessment security

How does online remote proctoring work?

Your typical online remote proctoring ecosystem is made up of software that is accessible through a web browser. Some proctoring solutions require students to install the software on their devices to be able to take the exams. Once the exam begins, the online assessment software scans the computer and gains access to resources such as the camera. After the check is complete, the system proceeds to confirm the student’s identity. There are several ways this can be done, including the use of biometrics or facial recognition systems. Some systems also have a unique password that only the human proctor has access to. 

Once the student has access to the exam, cheating prevention mechanisms such as lockdown browser, IP-based authentication, and AI-flagging kick in. Each of these plays an important role in defending academic integrity. AI-flagging scans for unusual behavior during the exam process while lockdown browser makes sure that the student doesn’t browse the internet for answers. In case the student tries to cheat, the AI algorithm alerts the proctor, who acts according to the policies in place. The exam process depends on the type of remote proctoring used by the institution.

Want to understand in real-time how online remote proctoring works and how it can improve your assessment process? 

Types of online remote proctoring

There are three types of online remote proctoring; record and review, and live-on-demand. Each of them has distinctive features that make them suitable for certain contexts. 

  • Record and Review

This type of remote proctoring doesn’t need proctors to monitor the examinees in real-time. Instead, the audio and video feed of the entire examination process is recorded and analyzed by a trained proctor.  This type is easy to implement, flexible, and validates the examinee’s results. 

Record and Review Remote Proctoring in Assess

However, this type is most suitable for medium-stakes exams because it requires skilled manpower, which makes it hard to scale and expensive compared to the other types. 

  • Live and on-demand

The live and on-demand model mimics the traditional assessment model but offers more scalability and flexibility. The entire examination is invigilated by an online proctor, in real-time. This adds an additional layer of security, especially because the proctor can spot cheating behavior and take action. The entire process is streamlined and ensures high academic integrity. With the Assess platform, you can deliver live and on-demand remote proctoring in 5 simple steps. Send them a link to the RP login page, let the proctor verify the identity, establish the rules, set up a second camera on the device, and you are life! 

  • Automated remote proctoring (AI-flagging)

AI-flagging is a special form of remote proctoring in which the invigilation process is automated through Artificial IntelligenceThis model uses AI algorithms to detect any abnormal behavior during the examination process. Some abnormal behaviors include two voices or two faces in a single frame. 


AI-flagging in Assess

AI-flagging is also equipped with anti-cheat features including;

  • Image Capturing

This is a technique used to increase the effectiveness of online testing by taking photos of activities in a given interval of time. The images are later analyzed to flag down any form of infidelity detected in the image banks. This is a basic mechanism, yet effective in situations where students don’t have access to a stable internet connection. 

  • Audio Capturing

This one is almost similar to image/video capturing but keeps track of audio logs. The audio logs are later analyzed to identify any voice abnormalities in the surrounding environment. This eliminates risks such as getting help from family members or friends in the same room. 

  • Lockdown Browser

High-speed broadband and access to hundreds of tools to do anything. Sounds like the perfect opportunity to cheat? Yes, to some extent. However, with the lockdown browser feature, students are limited to one tab, the one hosting the exam. If the student tries accessing any external software or opening a tab, a notification is sent to the invigilator. The feature starts by scanning the computer for video/image capture. Once the test begins, the examinee is restricted from surfing the internet for answers. 

Want to find out what type of online remote proctoring fits your needs? 

What are the benefits of remote proctoring? 

  • Improved academic integrity

Digital assessment integrity is one of the main reasons why people opt for remote proctoring instead of traditional assessment methods. Using methods such as lockdown browser, AI-flagging, and IP-based authentication, cheating is eliminated, which ensures high-quality learning outcomes. 

  • Better student identification

One of the ways students cheat is through impersonation. Remote proctoring tools such as Assess have AI algorithms that can spot such nuances from a mile away, thereby ensuring authenticity. 

  • Scalability 

Unlike traditional exam centers which can hold a specific number of candidates, remote proctoring can scale with you, depending on the type of platform you are using. 

  • Advanced analytics helps improve learning methods

By using advanced reporting functionalities embedded in remote proctoring software, examiners are able to get valuable insights. These insights can be used in modifying the learning process to improve learning outcomes. 

  • Cost-effective

Traditional examinations are expensive to develop, deliver, and evaluate. By using remote proctoring, you can cut out a lot of operational costs, including administration. 

  • Global accessibility

Online remote proctoring has helped globalize assessments. Students can take exams from anywhere and anytime they see fit. This helps eliminate inconveniences such as absenteeism, which are common in offline exams.

  • Supports diversified exam types

Diversification is an important factor in developing effective assessments. With online remote proctoring, you can create assessments types such as coding simulators, which are almost impossible. This helps take the learning experience to a whole new level. 

Challenges of online remote proctoring

Despite having numerous benefits, online remote proctoring has some challenges. These challenges have made many businesses and education institutions hesitate when investing in technology. 

 Academic integrity, privacy, and information security are the main concerns. However, most of these academic integrity challenges can be neutralized. Some ways include the methods discussed in the sections above; AI-flagging, IP-based authentication, and lockdown browser. 

Another challenge faced by the integration of remote proctoring into assessment models is expensive technology requirements. To use remote proctoring, students require laptops or mobile phones and high-speed internet. This problem can be overcome by developing software that can run on even the simplest devices. For instance, Assess software doesn’t require any specialized software. All you need is a web browser, and you are good to go! 

Getting started with remote proctoring is another challenge that institutions face. The process can become overwhelming because there are so many forces at play. If you are having a hard time setting foot in remote proctoring, it is advisable to seek help from experienced professionals. 

To understand more about remote proctoring, privacy, and its future, feel free to watch the webinar below. It was conducted by Assess’s CEO Nathan Thompson,  Rachel Schoenig from Examity, and Don Kassner from MonitorEDU.

Privacy & Remote Proctoring (Online Proctoring) – Feat Rachel Schoenig from Examity and Don Kassner from MonitorEDU

Final Thoughts 

Online remote proctoring is an important component of digital assessments and online learning. We hope this article helped you understand the fundamentals of remote proctoring, which is important if you are planning on integrating it into your assessment ecosystem. 

Are you looking to get started with remote proctoring? 


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N. M.Stephens

N.M.Stephens is a former software developer. These days, he is committed to helping Tech Startups and SMEs share their innovations with the world through humane content marketing.