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EdTech Assessment Toolkit

Exam Invigilation (Cleveland, United States)

Biometric model

Remote proctoring and online exam invigilation software have seen a surge in use in universities during the pandemic. Exam invigilation software is utilised to identify students during online exams and to prevent instances of academic misconduct. These systems might rely on algorithmic methods, human invigilators, or often a combination of both.

Common issues with these systems include their demonstration of systemic bias against non-white students (Feathers, 2021), their detrimental effects on students with testing anxiety (Woldeab & Brothen, 2019), and discrimination against students with disabilities (Brown, 2020). Moreover, the software operates on the premise that students are guilty until proven innocent, which is a disrespectful and damaging approach for academic institutions to adopt. After being compelled to scan his bedroom before taking an exam at Cleveland University, a student took legal action against his university, claiming that the room scan infringed upon his rights. In August 2022, a U.S. district judge deemed the practice unconstitutional, ruling in favour of the student (Bowman, 2022).

Snapshot (July 2023)

System task/function: Exam Invigilation & Online Proctoring
Model: Biometric
Deployment: Student identity detection and algorithmic control of testing environment
Location of application: Various universities across the world (see Ban-E-Proctoring, 2022)
Rationale for introduction: Prevent students from academic misconduct
Vendor: E.g. Proctorio & Honorlock
Pricing: Not disclosed
Data and computation: Webcam and browser data / algorithmic processing
Inequalities/harms: Discrimination (Ban-E-Proctoring, 2022; Brown, 2020; Feathers, 2021)
Status: Active
Authority/regulation: University Level
Unintended consequences: False accusations, deterring students & encouraging students to devise new ways of ‘cheating’ (e.g. Geiger, 2021)
Sanction/redress: Active across many universities, sanctions for Cleveland University are not disclosed

References/further reading

Ban-E-Proctoring. (2022). Protect Student Privacy: Ban E-Proctoring. Retrieved from
Bowman, E. (2022). Scanning students’ rooms during remote tests is unconstitutional, judge rules. Retrieved from

Brown, L. X. Z. (2020). How Automated Test Proctoring Software Discriminates Against Disabled Students. Retrieved from

Feathers, T. (2021). Proctorio Is Using Racist Algorithms to Detect Faces. Retrieved from

Geiger, G. (2021). Students Are Easily Cheating ‘State-of-the-Art’ Test Proctoring Tech. Retrieved from

Selwyn, N., O’Neill, C., Smith, G., Andrejevic, M., & Gu, X. (2023). A necessary evil? The rise of online exam proctoring in Australian universities. Media International Australia, 186(1), 149-164.

Woldeab, D., & Brothen, T. (2019). Online Proctoring, Test Anxiety, and Student Performance. International Journal of E-Learning & Distance Education, 34(1). Retrieved from