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Examination and Proctoring | 6 Min Read

What to choose – Live or Recorded or Auto- Proctoring?


Remote examinations by methods of proctoring is a field that has been advancing in the last 5 to 7 years. Kryterion, a US-based firm, was the first company to provide online proctoring services, and the field has overgrown since then. So many new service providers and technologies have emerged in recent times.

The market for online proctoring and remote invigilation is extending at a quick pace. It is being anticipated that this will be an incredible $10 billion market by 2026 covering all territories – educational, vocational, corporate, and training.

The market is spreading like wildfire, soon proctoring will be the ruling technology conquering the entire space of examinations.

What the future holds is nothing but the smartest tool that keeps cheaters in check.

But before it becomes one, there are some rules in the game that need to be defined.

It’s important to know everything about proctoring.

What is Online Exam Proctoring?

In online exam proctoring, invigilators  monitor candidates online during the test, usually with the help of a mic, webcam, and watch the candidate’s screen.

The following four steps are required in order to conduct online proctoring from a remote location:

  • A capable device(Desktop PC/Laptop/Tablet/Mobile)
  • A stable internet connection, at least 256kbps speed
  • An effective webcam and a microphone
  • Modern browsers compatible with PC/Laptop

Comparison Of Three Modes of Proctoring

There are usually three modes of proctoring:

  • Live Proctoring
  • Recorded Proctoring
  • Automated Proctoring

i) Live Online Proctoring

In a live proctored exam, an experienced proctor can access the candidate’s audio-video and screen-sharing feeds in real-time.

In this type of remote invigilation, a proctor does live proctoring of examinees. Usually, the solution provider will have individuals sitting in a far-off location who have been skilled to validate student authentication and eliminate unfair practices.

 A proctor can supervise up to 16-32 candidates in one go depending on the service provider. The distinct advantage of live proctoring is that it eliminates the locational restrictions of proctoring.

The potential downside is it still needs the tests to be scheduled, and there is also significant human involvement in conducting the process through this system. It is also not very scalable and comes with an exorbitant price.

ii) Recorded Proctoring

In this type, nobody is monitoring the feed in actual time. Alternatively, the screen share and audio-video feeds of the examinees are recorded throughout the test. Later on, a proctor reviews the recorded video of the candidates. A representative looks at recordings in a fast-forwarded manner and red-flags for a suspicious activity via annotations.  The system is free of schedule and vocational limitations. Yet, it requires human intervention for the review, and hence, it is still expensive and unscalable.

iii) Advanced Automated Proctoring

Auto proctored solutions are top-rated among clients. This mode of proctoring includes a recording of the audio-video and screen-sharing feeds of the candidates. Additionally, there is also a provision for monitoring the feeds for tracking suspicious activities using video and audio analytics.

In an auto proctoring test, software is used to detect all possible instances of cheating. It can easily identify if the candidate opens another software or if an accomplice is helping the candidate in the room. It uses facial recognition for examinee’s identity authentication.

The upsides of using auto proctored tools are that there is no need to think twice about scheduling and locational limitations. Moreover, there is no need for reviewing from human proctors, and hence it comes across as a cost-effective and scalable solution.

The following table demonstrates comparisons between the three modes of proctoring:

ParametersLive ProctoringAuto ProctoringRecorded Proctoring
DefinitionThe presence of a human proctor is the essence of the solution.

This offering is often combined with a feature of Al by some of the players like Mettl, ProctorU, etc.

The AI algorithms with advanced analytics manage all the functions. There is no human presence.

The effectiveness of this method varies with the service providers. Mettl vouches for a 95% success rate in catching cheating instances.

The proctor later reviews the recording of the candidate taking the test with red flags.

In this proctoring, cheating cannot be prevented, but proctors can audit tests for cheating later on.

ScalabilityThe capacity to handle candidates concurrently is limited. Solutions like Proctoru, Examity offer proctoring at a 1:1 ratio (proctor: student).

Solutions like Mettl powered with Al Algorithms provide a more scalable solution with a ratio of up to 1:32 (Users can make an informed choice depending on the stakes).

It is highly scalable since it can support any number of test-takers, at any day or hour.

The service is 24/7. There is no dependence on the availability of the proctor.

It is decently scalable. Though the proctor is needed for review, he is not required at the time of the test, hence making it a much more flexible solution.
This tool is immensely useful since most of the service providers deploy trained executives to proctor the exams.

Moreover, companies that assist these proctors with Al algorithms further increase the probability of noticing any unethical activity.

The future holds in auto-proctoring.This solution is still evolving and is expected to surpass soon live proctoring in terms of effectiveness. In its current state, most companies do not provide data around how effective this is except Mettl, which claims to cover 95% of cases.It is highly effective, but it comes with a downside. This solution is reactive, not proactive i.e., it cannot prevent cheating while the test is still on, but the proctor can later cancel the test after review in case there is any cheating attempt suspected.
PricingThis is a relatively expensive solution. The cost of a typical live exam varies from $8 to 20$ for a one hour test.An auto exam costs roughly 3$A recorded proctoring solution approximately costs $5 -15$ for a one hour test.
FlexibilityIt is not the most flexible method for the proctors and students, both of whom need to match the timing and be present for the test. This solution provides instant reports by virtue of different slots available for the same tests, and this solution runs an increased risk of question disclosure.It ensures a high level of flexibility as the candidates schedule the tests whenever they like and are proctored continuously by automated algorithms.

It is decently flexible since the proctor can sit and review all the videos of the candidates in one shot.

Since the reviewing happens later, this solution does not provide instant reports.

Now How Do You Decide?

After a thorough read of the comparison table, you should be well informed to decide which service to choose.

For the same ask yourself –


Stakes Of Your Exams

Teaching is a process that facilitates learning. Testing is what validates your learnings and teachings. It is the parameter that measures both. But it wouldn’t matter if the integrity of the test has been compromised.

Finding the most appropriate proctoring solution is achievable by first setting the stakes of the examination. The way to figure out whether the exams are high stake or low stake is by defining the purpose of the examinations conducted.

In a high stake testing landscape, the most refined version of remote proctoring should be used.

Since the best available product that flags all incidents of cheating is a combination of human proctoring and AI algorithms, that’s what people should consider.

For instance, degree exams in universities that declare the final score of the students are generally high stake exams. These are the defining scores of the student’s life; hence the most refined and apt solution shall be considered here.

Also, if you are someone conducting entrance exams, then you are the one dealing with high stakes again. Leaving room for errors during the exam would mean compromising your brand name. You wouldn’t want that, so take the best solution of proctoring available.

In a low stake testing landscape, recorded or automated proctoring are feasible solutions.

Corporate learning assessments could be proctored in this way. After completing the training, the bulk employees need to be evaluated for their learnings. A recorded proctored assessment would make it feasible for everyone, who assesses according to their convenience. Sometimes institutions conduct quizzes, some internal tests, or semester exams, it would be better to go for automated proctoring solutions with no dependence on human proctors.

The Paying Capacity

For many, money is a barrier. Before you decide which solution to choose, consider your budget and requirements. Club this with the purpose of conducting assessments, and then the decision is easy. Go for the best available deal.

With online assessments becoming the mainstay of evaluation in e-Learning, companies can conduct job assessments irrespective of geographical considerations. However, unless there’s a reliable proctoring service at your disposal, there is no guarantee that the outcome of the test will yield a significant result. Hence it’s critical to check the authenticity of the candidate who takes the test, and this is reason enough for examiners to opt for online proctoring.

While a majority of people can be at loggerheads over the question of selecting the right proctoring solution, it is indeed a matter of preferences, needs, and budgets. There are several ways one could maintain the integrity of the exams, whether it be through the live proctoring, recorded proctoring, or the auto proctoring itself. Such tools will go a long toward ensuring the authenticity of the assessments conducted with their essential security features such as facial and keyboard movement analysis, facial recognition, among others.

How Mercer| Mettl Can Help?

Mercer| Mettl’s end-to-end proctoring services are useful in ensuring the security and authenticity of online assessments. Our proctoring solutions have been devised to validate the credibility and accuracy of the test outcome infusing the utmost confidence in the assessment process. Mettl offers easy-to-implement and robust online proctoring solutions to its esteemed clients. We provide holistic proctoring services through our extensive range of services to help clients in figuring out their overall needs. This state-of-the-art tool makes proctoring extremely easy, ergo helping conduct an array of assessments from entrance tests to mid-semester and pre-employment exams. Moreover, Mettl’s AI-powered proctoring tool ProctorPLUS assists in thwarting online exam cheating.

COVID Virtual Exams

Originally published August 28 2018, Updated June 15 2020

Divyeshwari Singh

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