(In a survey of college instructors conducted early in the pandemic, ninety-three per cent expressed concern that students would be more likely to cheat on online exams.) Some of these companies offer live proctoring underwritten by artificial intelligence. When college campuses shut down in March, 2020, remote-proctoring companies such as Proctorio, ProctorU, Examity, and ExamSoft benefitted immediately. Fully algorithmic test-monitoring—which is less expensive, and available from companies including Proctorio, ExamSoft, and Respondus Monitor—has expanded even faster.
These include ProctorU, which said, in December, that it had administered roughly four million exams in 2020 (up from 1.5 million in 2019), and Examity, which told Inside Higher Ed that its growth last spring exceeded pre-pandemic expectations by thirty-five per cent. Proctorio’s list of clients grew more than five hundred per cent, from four hundred in 2019 to twenty-five hundred in 2021, according to the company, and its software administered an estimated twenty-one million exams in 2020, compared with four million in 2019.
(The situation, in addition to its other challenges, deprived him of his usual light setup.) By the end of his senior year, Yemi-Ese was still struggling to get admitted to every Proctorio exam. Still, he managed to raise his grades back to pre-pandemic levels, even in classes that required Proctorio. He took several tests while displaced from his home by the winter storm that devastated Texas in February, which forced him to crash with a series of friends.
Yemi-Ese’s grades dropped precipitously early in the pandemic, a problem he attributed in large part to Proctorio. “After I figured out nothing was going to change, I guess I got numb to it,” he said. of ExamSoft, denied that his company’s product performed poorly with dark-skinned people. Jarrod Morgan, the chief strategy officer of ProctorU, told me that his company was in need of “relational” rather than technical changes. Sebastian Vos, the C.E.O. “What we will own is that we have not done a good enough job explaining what it is we do,” he said.
“A lot of times, there are issues that get publicly printed that are not actually issues,” he said. His dread of the software only increased after he was kicked out of an exam when a roommate dropped a pot in the kitchen, making a clang that rang through their apartment. Last spring, during a Zoom meeting with a professor, Yemi-Ese learned that the software had flagged him for moving too much. “I had to try to calm down,” he said. So I don’t know if it’s seeing things that aren’t there because of the pigment of my skin.” “I feel like I can’t take a test in my natural state anymore, because they’re watching for all these movements, and what I think is natural they’re going to flag,” he told me.