ProctorU is a common test-taking service for online exams. It uses the computer's webcam and microphone to observe the student taking the exam.
Not only does ProctorU do an inadequate job of reducing cheating, but it also contributes to student's high-stress levels during the exam season. There is no access to scratch paper and no option to eliminate answer choices, which correspond to two of the most widely used test-taking strategies.
I've heard stories of students cheating with proctorU in all kinds of ways. Inside Higher Education notes that some students write notes on their hands or laptop monitors. They also note that "some students use furniture to provide cover—closets, desks, and beds can all act as a shelter for cheaters looking to game the system. When it comes to the most versatile piece of decor, however, blinds might top the list. One student enlisted the support of a friend who whispered answers while hiding behind the blinds."
In my own experiences with ProctorU, I have also had a situation in which I rented a ProctorU study room at the library. Because it's the library, I couldn't play the Proctor audio out loud, so I put in headphones which I attached to the computer. My exam went fine until the last five minutes, my proctor started freaking out and yelling at me about how I wasn't allowed to wear headphones during the exam. I asked him why he wouldn't mention that in the first hour of my exam and he said I could be cheating. It ended up working out when I explained to him that it wasn't even my own computer and that I couldn't play the ProctorU service audio in front of so many people. It affected my focus and I performed poorly on the last leg of the exam.
There are also frequent technology issues which cause the test to be delayed past the initial start time. For example, ProctorU requires a Google Chrome extension in order to function, and if Google Chrome is not your preferred internet browser, it can get confusing quickly. I've had multiple issues connecting to the server during my last exam which caused me to begin my exam over 30 minutes past the start time, increasing my anxiety directly before taking my exam.
A few reviews from the employees on GlassDoor reveal that not only do students have concerns about the functionality of the company, but the employees do as well.
"Technology always has issues. Proctoru does not hold the standards that they sell to their clients. Offices are being moved overseas and test takers are having issues communicating with the non-native English speakers." - anonymous employee
"Start up environment, sometimes you could get down to 4 hours a week, it's not uncommon to arrive at work to start your shift only to be sent home due to lack of TT's (test takers), very much a quantity over quality way of working." - former employee in Livermore, CA.
In a world where technology advances at such high rates, ProctorU seems to be falling behind on advancements. Universities should consider alternative options or stick to the traditional pen-and-paper to give students the most enjoyable, stress-free test-taking environment.