AI proctoring won’t stop students from cheating, it is just added stress for students

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Since remote learning started, teachers have been struggling to make class as similar to face-to-face learning as possible. This includes trying to make it hard for students to cheat on online tests. 

Many professors in the U.S. have been using AI proctoring services to curb and catch cheating. These proctor services are not inclusive of all students’ situations, create unnecessary anxiety for students and they may not even be very accurate.

Because of this, schools and professors should refrain from using them.

AI proctoring services like Honorlock and Proctorio record video of students taking their test and then use AI to analyze students and recognize behavior that looks like cheating. 

They do this with facial recognition, detection, and eye tracking. They may also recognize noises that happen in the room and count that as cheating behavior. Cheating behavior can include leaving the camera view for a few seconds as well. 

It makes sense that schools would try to use something to emulate an in person proctored exam. However, there have been a lot of issues with this type of software in terms of inclusivity. 

Many college students at home simply may not have a quiet private space to take a test. Softwares that register sounds as cheating make it difficult for people who have to babysit their kids or siblings during class. 

Many people also may simply not have space in their home for a private quiet room. 

People are at home where the environment is a lot less controlled. It’s not surprising that a mother watching her kids may have to get up from her test to go deal with them or tell them to be quiet but a lot of these softwares would count this as cheating. 

There’s also the issue of race when it comes to these softwares. Some softwares have trouble recognizing darker skin making it more difficult for the AI to analyze every student fairly. Students that don’t have a well lit place to take a test can be penalized too. 

These proctoring softwares also may not even work as well as people think. 

One Brigham Young University professor used Proctorio for his upper level psychology course and two thirds of his student got above 90% suspicion rating from the AI on one test. The person who was the least suspicious according to the machine still got 53% suspicion, still over half! 

These services tend to count any eye movement off the screen as suspicion of cheating, when students could just be looking off to think for a second before getting back to the test. 

We’re not punished for staring off into space during tests in person, so why should we be punished for doing it at home? 

Many students also get really bad test anxiety, and the fact that they’re being recorded and analyzed by an AI doesn’t help. 

It’s as if you have someone sitting right in front of you staring up-close your face the entire time you take a test. Wouldn’t that make you feel uncomfortable? 

In fact, one proctoring service like Examity literally has a proctor video chat that analyzes the student’s face and movement during their test, so it literally is a person staring at you. 

Also, these softwares don’t stop cheating. There are hundreds of tips online detailing the ways people can cheat on online tests. If a person wants to cheat, they will. 

Of course, cheating is a problem. But using software that isn’t inclusive to all students, causes unnecessary anxiety, and certainly invades student privacy is not the move. 

Rather, change the conditions of the class to not motivate cheating by building trust in your students and being understanding of their shortcomings this semester. 

Because many people’s homes are not controlled environments like classrooms are, we should stop testing like they are.

Anna Baker is an English junior who can be reached at [email protected]

Leave a Comment