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Online Proctoring

Online proctoring

A beginner’s guide.

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What is online proctoring?

Sometimes referred to as remote proctoring, online proctoring is a technology-enabled, secure alternative to traditional on-site testing.

With technological advancements, secure testing can now be conducted online by a proctor who observes tests, exams or assessments remotely, using the webcam and microphone on a test taker’s device. This replicates in-person proctoring as closely as possible for test takers in the comfort of their own home, place of work or almost anywhere else.

Online proctoring isn’t new. It is already used widely across certification, licensure and education. With the application of innovative technology, online proctoring is increasingly seen as secure as physical test centers.

On this page you will learn:

Why online proctoring?

We know that the higher the stakes of a test or exam the more likely it is that some people will try to cheat. And while most test takers are honest, it is inevitable that as testing methods change and develop, so will the ways that people find to cheat. For instance, ‘how to cheat on an online proctored exam’ is a question commonly asked of Google.

However, research shows in both classroom and online exams, cheating rates increase substantially if the test is not proctored. The introduction of secure online proctoring increases the security of online tests and exams.

Benefits of online proctoring for test sponsors:

Benefits of secure remote testing for test takers:
  • Convenient scheduling and test times.
  • Flexible test location.
  • Responsive and up to date testing experience.
  • Potential to bring your own device (BYOD).
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Is online proctoring secure?

Security is a common concern for those considering a move to remote testing. But with the application of innovative technology, online proctoring is increasingly seen as secure as physical test centers, particularly when it comes to delivery in certain geographies. Measures to protect test security include:


The data security of test takers can also be a concern. The good news is that it is possible to authenticate who someone is before and during a test while protecting their privacy and personal information.

psi client testimonial

"We have a lot of positive feedback from test takers on the seamlessness of our test delivery process. The gap in the market was access and PSI is committed to delivering tests in real time, online."

Clyde Seepersad

General Manager of Training, The Linux Foundation

What are the different options for online proctoring?

With different options there is an appropriate solution for every organization seeking to protect the security of tests while addressing test taker needs.

  1. Live online proctoring
    When proctoring is live, a test taker schedules the test in advance. On exam day, they check-in and their ID is authenticated by an administrator. They download a secure browser and are assigned a proctor to observe their test in real-time. The proctor can intervene if they see anything suspicious, either giving the test taker a warning or pausing the test to investigate.
  2. Record & review online proctoring
    Record & review proctoring is very similar to live. Test takers download the secure browser and go through the same ID authentication to access their test. The whole session is recorded via webcam. A proctor reviews the recording after the test has taken place to flag and report on incidents. Testing can be made available on demand.

How do I get started with online proctoring?

Implementing online proctoring, whether as an additional modality within a multi-channel approach, or as a full replacement for on-site testing, is a significant development. It requires effective change management and adequate consideration of all stakeholders and processes that might be affected. This includes:

  • Regulatory requirements
  • Testing rules, policies and procedures
  • Test taker accommodations
  • Availability of test taker support
  • Test results and follow-up
  • Test taker communications

How do I prepare remote test takers?

The move from in-person testing will be a big change for many of your test takers. You will need to help them adjust to online proctoring. Good communication and taking the time to ensure they know what to expect will reduce anxiety and deliver a great test taker experience. Test takers may still have concerns about the change, so it’s a good idea to find out what these worries are and address them specifically.

It’s hard for organizations to imagine and anticipate the impact the change to virtual communications will have – on the volume of incoming questions calls and emails. Many of the common issues, such as poor internet connectivity and lack of necessary ID documents, could be avoided with good communication. That’s why it’s important to be prepared and ensure your test takers are fully prepared for online proctoring.

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Secure test taker experience

secure online proctoring
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What does a proctor do?

A proctor, or invigilator as they are sometimes called in the UK, is a trained and trusted individual who has traditionally been present in the room during a test, to improve security and support test takers. A proctor’s role is to:

  • Check and verify the identity of test takers before a test.
  • Prevent, identify and report any misconduct during the test.
  • Answer any questions or concerns test takers might have.


An online proctor performs the same role using the webcam and microphone on a test taker’s device. A good online proctor will be fully trained and qualified to recognize the behaviors associated with malpractice and take the appropriate action when they see them.

What about Artificial Intelligence and online proctoring?

The mass adoption of online proctoring during the pandemic caused understandable concerns about test taker privacy and the validity of test outcomes. Particularly when Artificial Intelligence (AI) was used to minimize cost and speed up implementation.

PSI never uses automated proctoring that relies exclusively on AI to monitor for potential dishonesty. We are committed to proctoring that is human-focused and technology assisted, with the use of the latest, most appropriate technology.

What is multi-modal testing?

Many test sponsors want to offer their test takers the choice of testing modality that works best for them, while delivering tests that are equitable and fair. They ask can online and test center proctoring work together? With a multi-modal testing strategy where test takers can choose to take a test in either computerized testing centers or remotely with online proctoring, the answer is yes.

Test takers on average score the same, whether at home with online proctoring or in a test center with onsite proctoring. Test takers rate online proctored tests favorably and ratings of test conditions are unrelated to location or test performance. For organizations looking for a more flexible approach to testing, multi-modal is well worth considering. Watch a webinar about going multi-modal with testing in 2020 and beyond.

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psi client testimonial

"To have PSI say that our vision for this hybrid program is possible, venture forth to find out how all the pieces fit together, and then execute flawlessly has been an incredible experience."

Jeff Baughman

Producer and Oversight Program Manager, Washington State OIC
psi client testimonial

“Both PSI and ISACA have grown and learned so much. That’s being part of a family and a rewarding partnership. Because we work together so efficiently, we reduced our time to deployment. It was phenomenal.”

Kim Cohen

Director of Credentials, ISACA

Online proctoring for State licensure

The benefits of online proctoring experienced by certification programs, including IT certification, are being applied to State licensure exams. Many States are now using a multi-modal approach to State licensure exams. This includes national and State exams for Barbering & Cosmetology and Construction, Contractors and related trades.

Online proctoring for education

With the move to online learning, many educational institutions are seeing the convenience online proctoring provides for not only themselves, but for students. There are multiple stakeholders to consider and key steps to take in the move to secure remote testing for education:

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