Pro: Proctoring extensions are necessary to maintain integrity of online exams.

A rise in cheating amidst online testing has increased by 800% during the height of the pandemic from April to June last year in comparison to during January to March the same year according to The Washington Post. Sitting down for an exam is a common sight for students around the world, however, during the pandemic, many schools were forced to close and moved to online distance learning, and with it so did the exams as cheating began to skyrocket. 

As schools remain closed, online assessments have increased, and so has the use of online proctoring tools to maintain the integrity of exams. Services such as lockdown browser or Blocksi are being used by teachers to monitor their students during an examination. The use of these proctoring services provides security and convenience during testing and continues to be necessary during online examinations. 

These services protect the integrity of exams and ultimately, deters the amount of students attempting to cheat. Using proctoring services provides a level playing field that has been jeopardized since the increase of online examinations. According to Radford University Economics Professor Seife Dendir and Geospatial Science Professor R. Stockton Maxwell found that using some form of direct proctoring is the most effective way of deterring cheating during high-stakes online assessments. The findings of the study suggest that cheating was taking place in the unsupervised exams. The authors of the new study found that the number of questions posted on the site in five different science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines increased by 196.25% from April to August of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. However, when conducting bivariate analyses, they found that there was a significant drop in average exam scores in both courses after online proctoring was introduced, in many cases by more than a letter grade. The study confirmed that online proctoring was the most viable strategy to maintain the integrity of exams. 

The purpose of exams is to assess a student’s understanding of the material, using these services to monitor both the student and their computer activity is another precaution to deter students from the temptation of cheating. According to co-author of a study published in the spring by the Journal of the National College Testing Association Steve Saladin, if one student has a pattern with cheating, it will become a problem for that student, but if many start to cheat it will start to devalue the course they’re taking, suggesting that society will blindly accept whatever means necessary to meet an end goal. Shouldn’t we value the process of learning for the sake of learning rather than the end goal of a grade or the completion of the course? Online proctoring will catch more of those who are cheating and deter others from attempting to cheat. This will allow students to utilize exams for what they were meant to do, which is to assess mastery of the content.  

While many believe that these proctoring services are an invasion of privacy, haven’t we as students always been subjected to sacrificing some privacy in favor of maintaining the integrity of these exams? Are schools or testing sites doing that much more by using these services in comparison to a live proctor during in-person tests? Monitoring students during an exam in a classroom has always been the norm. In fact, according to Dendir, online proctoring is just one more step toward creating a level of equivalence between traditional face-to-face courses and could help establish some sense of normalcy. 

It is necessary to use proctoring services for a fair educational environment and to maintain some semblance of prestige. We have been walking a fine line between the rights of privacy and honesty, but the rights of privacy could be meaningless if they encourage disorder, dishonesty which is a disservice to our country.

Should teachers use proctoring extensions?
31 votes · 31 answers