How does Automated Proctoring Work?

Proctoring is an act of supervising exams and assessment tests with the purpose of weeding out cheating. It can be achieved by stationing a trained professional at a physical location, connecting an automated proctoring system, etc. It’s not done just to make it harder to cheat, but also to support exam takers in need.

You can’t really imagine a modern exam without some sort of proctoring. Not only does it ensure the correct evaluation of skills and knowledge, but it also enables each student to achieve their due result and not get surpassed due to cheating. Thankfully, technology has made this process more comfortable in recent years, and solutions like the ProctorEdu online proctoring service make it more accessible.

Evolution from Traditional to Automated Proctoring

In the realm of education, traditional proctoring has been a cornerstone in ensuring the integrity of exams. This method typically involves a human overseer, or ‘proctor,’ present in a room to monitor students as they take their tests. The proctor's role is to deter and detect any dishonest behaviors, such as cheating or referencing unauthorized materials.

With the surge in online education platforms and e-learning, the need to assess students remotely has grown exponentially. However, it quickly became apparent that the conventional methods of proctoring are not easily scalable to cater to a vast number of online learners scattered across different time zones and regions. Moreover, in-person proctoring for online exams is neither cost-effective nor logistically feasible for most institutions.

This challenge paved the way for the development and adoption of automated proctoring systems. These systems are designed to replicate, and in some cases enhance, the vigilance of a human proctor using technology. They offer a solution to the increasing demand for remote examination while upholding the standards of exam integrity.

In essence, automated proctoring represents the intersection of technology and trust in the digital education landscape, bringing about efficiency, scalability, and adaptability to the evolving needs of online assessments.

What is Automated Proctoring?

Automated proctoring, at its core, is the use of technology, primarily software, to monitor and ensure the integrity of online exams without the continuous presence of a human proctor. Unlike the conventional approach, where a human oversees the exam process in real-time, automated proctoring systems are designed to record, analyze, and flag any suspicious activities during an examination.

Key Differences from Traditional Proctoring

  • Automated proctoring leverages sophisticated algorithms, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) to monitor test-takers. This includes analyzing video feeds for anomalies, detecting patterns that might indicate cheating, and even ensuring that the student stays within the exam window on their device.
  • While some automated systems offer a blend of human and machine monitoring, fully automated solutions operate without real-time human oversight. However, they do provide the capability for human review post-exam, where any flagged content can be evaluated.
  • One of the most significant advantages of automated proctoring is its scalability. Traditional proctoring is limited by the number of available human proctors, room sizes, and logistical constraints. In contrast, automated systems can proctor an almost unlimited number of exams simultaneously, catering to massive online courses and diverse student populations.

In a world that's rapidly digitizing, automated proctoring represents a necessary evolution in the realm of education. It's not just about keeping pace with technological advancements but also about ensuring that the sanctity of exams and the trustworthiness of online certifications are maintained in the digital age.

Types of Automated Proctoring

As technology continues to advance, so does the sophistication and variety of automated proctoring methods. While the core principle remains consistent—to ensure exam integrity—different approaches cater to various needs and examination contexts. Here's a breakdown of the primary types of automated proctoring:

Record and Review Proctoring

  • Under this method, the software records the entire examination process for each candidate. This recording includes video, audio, and sometimes even screen captures.
  • After the test is completed, the recordings are reviewed either by trained professionals or AI systems. These reviewers watch for any anomalies or suspicious behaviors.
  • This method is particularly useful for institutions that prefer a human touch in the final review but want to avoid the logistical challenges of real-time proctoring.

Live Online Proctoring

  • Here, live proctors monitor the exam in real-time using video feeds. However, this isn't traditional proctoring; the entire process is facilitated through automated systems, ensuring efficiency and scalability.
  • Live proctors can intervene immediately if they notice any discrepancies or violations, providing a semblance of the traditional examination environment.
  • Suitable for high-stakes exams where immediate intervention is critical, such as professional certification or licensing exams.

Advanced Automated Proctoring

  • This is the most technologically advanced form of proctoring. It utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) algorithms to monitor exams.
  • The system is trained to detect suspicious activities autonomously, such as unusual eye movements, background noises, or the presence of unauthorized materials and devices.
  • Depending on the system, it can either alert the student in real-time about potential violations or flag sections of the recording for post-exam review.
  • Ideal for large-scale online courses or institutions that want a fully automated solution without the need for human reviewers.

Choosing the right automated proctoring type depends on the specific needs of the institution, the nature of the exam, and the level of trust placed in technology. As these systems continue to evolve, we can expect even more nuanced and tailored solutions to emerge in the future.


Automated proctoring isn’t just one specific method you can apply to any scenario. There are various proctoring measures of this sort, each with a unique collection of upsides and downsides. Overall, though, they all benefit to a more precise and comfortable assessment of students.