Virtual Proctoring Receives Failing Grade in Large Randomized Trial

Reading time:3 mins

Wow, A recent study has detailed significant issues with virtual and live proctoring that spells problems for its continued use. The National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA) recently completed a study where nurses were randomized into one of six groups based on two methods of proctoring (in person or live online remote) for taking an assessment. They indicated this was one of the first independent studies outside of companies who provide these services.

This was an excellent paper and methodology with a total of 1,217 participants included in the analyses. It was published in October 2019 and also presented at the 2019 ICE conference. Six hundred (600) nurses provided feedback on their experiences with live online remote proctoring.

So, what’s the net-net? Some serious issues were revealed when it came to Virtual proctoring.  The authors even suggested use of virtual proctoring were a causative effect for lower grade scores versus in person proctoring.

Below is a list of some of their findings from the cohort who completed virtual proctoring:

  • Overall rating 2.5-9.1 out of 10 – (5.64 average)
  • Camera or audio issues reported 16.4%
  • No proctor response reported 16.9%
  • There was a significant delay of 23 mins P=0.001 for those with issues
  • Participants in remote proctoring groups with problems had scores lower than expected

Additionally, the following issues were also brought up and deserve mention, as they form part of a larger series of problems associated with virtual proctoring that are a barrier to its use:

  • Invasion of privacy issues: This was the major issue raised by participants. They all had to be recorded using web cam video, including their face, voice, audio. Participants also had to complete a 360-web cam view of the room (do you want others to view your private room like a bedroom?). Virtual proctoring also requires proctors taking remote control of your PC to review your apps and this was not well received
  • Note: Privacy issues of taking picture of your facial ID is emerging as a huge privacy concern with financial liabilities. See the problems and fines Facebook is facing for collecting face images:
  • Password issues: Proctors took precious time away to produce these.
  • Movement issues: Proctors wanted to see your hands always so they could assess cheating. (ever try to keep your hands in one position for hours?)
  • Security: The study authors felt they needed better ID Verification
  • Forensics: The study authors wanted better data analytics/forensics
  • Communication: This was a huge issue as foreign speaking proctors caused undo delay

The Conclusion of the study was as follows – “It is recommended that the CPCA assessments be delivered as a closed-book examination with choice of in-person or remote proctoring that does not require live online proctors” They went on to say that instead of live proctors, communication through chat is recommended. For those of you who ever use chat for help desk, it is not like one-on-one texting, especially with agents where English is not their native language. In an exam setting this does not get rid of the underlying problem and is likely to add time and frustration.

As if that weren’t bad enough, there’s more bad news! In a recent article entitled, “Virtual proctoring and regular passwords have significant issues” a summary of why virtual proctoring, lock down browsers and passwords have become in-effective tools to stop cheating. The article outlines links for students to learn how to circumvent and beat virtual proctoring companies, as well as provides evidence that students have and continue to look for new ways to cheat.

Faced with all the recent new information available, it seems prudent to consider other technologies like BioSig-ID that achieve the results that others claim to do (i.e. stopping cheating, applying AI forensics, meeting compliance requirements), without compromising the student/user experience. To this point the company just presented results of one client using BioSig-ID to assess identity in 700,000 online courses with over 150,000 users producing 4.2M authentication registrations with an astonishing low help desk call rate less than 1%. Ask us about how we catch cheaters and make you accreditation compliant.

Visit us at or call us at 877-700-1611 to see the difference BioSig-ID can make first-hand. Mention this article to us and receive 10% off your license fees!