University of Utah

Exam Proctoring Guidelines for Instructors

Updated on

Is the assessment formative or summative?

Formative assessments are not proctored. These assessments are used by students and teachers to gain feedback about student learning during the instructional process. Formative assessments provide a low-stakes way for students to get feedback early in the learning process so they can identify gaps in their knowledge. General characteristics include:

  • Open book/ open note
  • Multiple attempts
  • Non-graded practice quizzes
  • Not timed

Summative assessments should be proctored or supervised. These assessments are mostly used by teachers to gain information about student learning after the learning has been completed in order to assign a grade based on the knowledge that was demonstrated by the student. Summative assessments are high stakes and typically occur at set points during, and at the end of, the course. General characteristics include:

  • Single attempts
  • Closed book
  • Timed

University of Utah Exam Services offers support for formative assessments through consultations and advising. With limited seats available and locations, the UOnline Center and Exam Services sites are reserved for summative assessments.

Does the assessment have a written component?

Written exams should be supervised either in class or by a in-person proctor.

Should assessments be given in the class or at the Exam Services center?

Where possible assessments should be given in the classroom, during class time. Instructors have more control over assessments given in class, can monitor students closely, be available to answer questions, and quickly gather completed materials.

Exam services centers, or remote proctored assessments, are useful for large fully online classes (e.g 50+) where, monitoring, answering questions, and gathering completed materials can be time-consuming. 

Should the exam be monitored by an in-person proctor or by a remote proctor?

Proctored Exam Characteristics In-Person Proctor Remote Proctor
In-person student authentication based on Student ID
Student authentication on multiple factors (e.g. Photo, Biometrics, Challenge Questions)
Can proctor paper exams X
Monitor access to open-book/ browser/ notes X X
Monitor assistance from others X X
Automated reporting on suspicious behavior
Requires students to schedule time with a proctor X
Available anywhere/anytime
Individual exam videos
Group exam videos X
Automated reporting on the number of exams given, satisfaction surveys, and incidents
Browser lock-down
Print lock-down
Copy lock-down

In-Person Proctoring vs Remote Proctoring

Pros of In-Person Proctoring Cons of In-Person Proctoring
  • Can proctor paper exams
  • In-person student authentication based on Student ID
  • Exam security (e.g. restrict the sharing of exam information)
  • Monitor access to open-book/browser/notes
  • Can physically collect scratch paper, formula sheets, etc.
  • Monitor assistance from others
  • Limiting exam times (also enforced from Canvas quiz settings)
  • Sense of security from dealing with a live person
  • Person-to-person interaction for problems/troubleshooting
  • Awareness of live proctor may deter attempted cheating
  • Use of the University of Utah known at centers and certified proctors worldwide
  • A common practice for the past decade
  • Students must find a local proctor
  • Most require students to schedule in advance
  • Students must take exams within specified hours and limited availability of proctors
  • Most require fees ($10 - $80 per exam)
  • Proctors worldwide have access to USU exam materials
  • In-Person proctors are not available in all areas, especially internationally
  • In-Person proctors only verify identity-based on student ID
  • In-Person proctors may not monitor exams closely
  • In-Person proctors do not always provide reporting exam attempts or suspicious behavior
  • In-Person proctors may not have computers with the necessary software for specific classes
  • Limited video monitoring in most centers
  • The expense of staffing proctors and maintaining facilities at the University of Utah Exam Services sites
Pros of Remote Proctoring Cons of Remote Proctoring
  • Student authenticated based on multiple factors (e.g. ID Photo, Biometric, Challenge Questions)
  • Video algorithms detect open book/browser/notes activity, other people in the room, and unusual behaviors (e.g. looking off-screen repeatedly) without the need for a live proctor
  • Students enter proctored environment directly from Canvas, no need to schedule in advance
  • Available 24/7 worldwide for testing and support
  • No need to maintain a database of certified proctors for online exams
  • Automatic reporting of suspicious behavior available for instructor
  • Video recordings of all attempts
  • Instructors can review exam videos
  • Guidelines defined by the instructor and enforced by technology settings
  • Students use their own computers with access to specific course software
  • Institutional reporting on the number of exams given, satisfaction surveys, and incidents
  • Does not support paper exams
  • Students may 'game' the system and find ways to bypass video detection
  • Sense of insecurity from trusting technology
  • Students must have a webcam and a compatible computer
  • Lack of interaction for exam problems/questions
  • Some might dislike the feeling of being watched by a webcam
  • No live person watching may encourage cheating attempts


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