ProctorU: How Does It Really Work to Uphold Academic Integrity?
With the rise of online learning, a corresponding increase has been observed in online testing. The current remote testing process is far more advanced now, and it includes the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that has transformed everything from what it used to be. Among firms leading these advancements, ProctorU stand out as an industry leader with two United States issued patents for their testing software within two years. According to its website, ProctorU’s market share appears to be double that of its closest competitive rivals with over a million exams conducted yearly by more than 1,000 institutions spread across 120 countries all powered by ProctorU. ProctorU’s test proctor platform has become even more famous after Google selected them to certify their G suite program.
Preventing Academic Malpractice
Although ProctorU aims “to uphold academic and professional testing,” and emphasizes that they do not directly aim at catching cheaters, however, their advert reads “Deter. Detect. Prevent.” In simple terms anyone can see it says ‘catching cheaters’ at the bottom line; no amount of fancy words can hide this fact.
However, note that ProctorU is not a one-size-fits-all replacement for in-person testing or a school’s own online testing process the company offers four different online test-taking approaches known as solutions:
i) record: This is the most affordable option available with schools as ProctorU does not need to monitor your exam sessions.
ii) record+ : This second-tier provides an AI-assisted exam session review service followed up by a trained professional staff.
iii) review+ : This level involves human interaction via live chats just before students begin their assessments only to confirm that student’s desks are clear and also launch the student’s exam.
iv) live+ : This is the priciest tier amongst all solutions available on the platform as it provides full-time, real-time virtual monitoring by a human being at ProctorU throughout the exam session. It’s worth noting that this testing solution is only endorsed by ProctorU for institutions desiring a highly rated cheat-preventative program.
ProctorU claims their services are better than any traditional brick-and-mortar test centers; however, in-person tests always involve live monitoring and human interaction. Even with online proctoring’s flexibility in terms of time and place of test-taking, it still can’t provide equal levels of support when a student experiences any form of difficulty, be it technical or personal.
It is important to understand that although ProctorU identifies suspicious exam session behavior flagged off by its system, the institution employing the service makes the ultimate call on when to level cheating accusations against test-takers. Most institutions shall rely solely on whatever evidence is provided by ProctorU.
Moreover, bearing in mind that schools have already paid for school-based usage licenses – they are unlikely to ignore any warning signals from ProctorU about cheating. It means that school administrators may not take enough care in reviewing all ProctorU-provided evidence exhaustively before implementing corrective measures to address allegations of academic misconduct. At the core of this situation is the fact that only one out of Four testing solutions offered by ProctorU includes full-time interaction and monitoring by trained human employees. Every other solution only reports suspicions after each test section concludes; quite unfortunate since no living person observed or took note of test-taker conduct unfolding in real-time during evaluation sessions while administering past tests virtually. Another downside here is that an allegation might be based on nothing more than a video review conducted by a Proctor staff member followed up with input from another school administrator reviewing the video.
At this point, a student enters his/her academic misconduct process. Although similar in procedures between faculties, each school has different governance criteria; making it important to first understand fully the process available for a particular tertiary institution. ProctorU has issued its own Student Bill of Rights for Remote and Digital Work document among its clients and supports its adoption by new enrollees using their services. Its bill entails:
i) The right to access clarifications concerning rights related to tests.
ii) The presumption of innocence.
iii) Compliance with all legal and institutional policies both federal/state guidelines, any local academic regulatory bodies’ requirements
iv) The right to know academic policies and methodologies adequately explained for maximum clarity.
v) The right to understand what data an institution is recording about you when assessing academic malpractice allegations.
ProctorU’s clients are under no obligation by law to adopt these students rights although some have begun implementing policy changes already. Even where no policy changes exist around these areas in certain institutions, anyone accused of cheating deserves equal opportunity with active representation.
Where to Begin
An individual accused of any form of academic misconduct (most especially cheating), there are several vital steps one must take while trying not to fall into needless pitfalls. Try as much as possible: avoid accepting responsibility outrightly; do not make statements that could worsen your defense case initially or through your trial period. It would usually be best not even to respond at all at the first hearing except eventually for a few statements. Seek to comprehend everything presented against you concerning the allegations made against you explicitly backed up by tested evidence.
Also, when informed about allegations made against you – keep records inside a physical book, including dates and precise timing details alongside admittance slips from faculty officials; This includes anything that may help your case during trial proceedings before an appellate court if it reaches that level. Carefully review institutions procedures and match them with allegations and related evidence, taking note of inconsistencies or compliance failures on the faculty’s part.
Lastly, hire an academic misconduct lawyer like Todd Spodek to assist you in the entire process. An experienced legal advisor like Spodek will give you the professional representation needed against faculty administrators who themselves may have very limited time dedicated to investigating cases of this type. More importantly, also note that students have rights, and while faculty administrators can move swiftly to conclude a case, every student has some due process rights tailored towards fighting unfair treatment by an institution in many cases.
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