Assessing Students Remotely

Use this information to guide decisions about the type of assessment and how to proctor online.  

Consider better teaching and assessment options other than exams. 
  • Authentic assessments can better achieve outcomes: Alternatives to Traditional TestingCreative Final Exam Ideas
  • Teaching better is the best way to stop cheating in online courses
  • Through pandemic scenarios, we recommend that exams be offered as open book whenever possible. Control access for the specific date and duration scheduled, add an honor code first item, randomize items within sections that assess specific outcomes, and increase reflective, synthesis, and applied learning questions.  Students may be warned that a discrepancy of more than one letter grade between the average of all other graded work and the exam will disqualify the exam.  
If online exams are deemed best, here are set up considerations.
  1. Control access to the exam.
    • Synchronous test taking: in learninghub, you may unhide the exam at the start of the session to make it easier to start a group without a password.  If some students are not present in a group exam zoom session, you may set a password to then control their access until they are in the presence of a proctor later.
    • Asynchronous test taking: add a password when setting up the exam, which will only be accessible by approved proctors
      • NEVER change the password set up if multiple people are proctoring students at different times.
      • User overrides can be set to change start or end time, time allowed, or password for individual students (here's how in learninghub)
  2. Control the testing environment.
    • Set lockdown browser with exams set up in learninghub to limit computer use to current browser window. Require students to install and use this on a class activity a week or more prior to an exam, giving time to resolve any installation problems e.g. Chromebooks do not allow lockdown on personal machines, and corporations may not allow the app to install on computers employees are using to take exams.  
    • Timed open book exams simplify proctoring, and can be set up without lockdown browser if there are no limits on internet access.
    • Randomization of equal value items testing the same outcome is recommended:
        At least randomize all the items required within each section.
        If more items are available, note how many to draw from the pool of items for each section.
    • The SDE Testing Center, with proctors trained in detecting cheating and tech support, can assist with proctoring remote course exams online via zoom.  Fill in requests here at least 2 weeks prior to the exam.
  3. Consider using items from the textbook publisher's digital test bank.
  4. Post info about how to take the exam with the review and above the exam link in the course space.
    • State the start and end date and time.  For synchronous classes, this is usually during a class period.  For asynchronous, allow at least 24 hours, preferably longer for working adults, as your questions are randomized, the exam password protected, and questions requiring personal applications.
    • State what materials can be used during the exam, clearly written at the start of the exam so the proctor can read and check this as the exam starts.
    • State how to enter the exam session (via zoom link likely) and who will be proctoring. 
    • If the proctor is not the teacher, provide instructions with expectations to the approved proctor, and check they are trained in the technology and academic integrity tracking.  Proctors can enter a user override to change the duration (e.g. from 60  to 90 minutes) for students with accommodations documented by Student Success.  For other accommodations, students should contact Student Success before their exam time as alternate formats may be needed.
We’re here to help:
And here's a guide to proctoring online using zoom.

Use the guide below for best practices in proctoring for academic integrity, individually or by class group. This tutorial on how online proctoring works when proctoring students individually demonstrates our model and commitment to buildling trusting relationships through personal proctoring that maximize academic integrity.  

Exam appointment: Simply email or use any online scheduling tool you’re already using, giving student choices in time.  Request they sign in using a computer with audio and video.  Tablets can work if you tell the student the password to enter. Exam appointment: Instructor sets the time, with input from students dispersed remotely.  Tell students to join the meeting with their mobile or cell phone.
Send exam session link: 10 minutes before the session start, send the zoom link reminding the individual student to enter with their computer audio and video. Send exam session link:  Send your class meeting link with a reminder 10 minutes before the start to join the meeting with a second device (cell phone, tablet, other computer).  


Verify identity: If the student is unknown to the proctor, ask for a legal photo ID, compare the face with photo, and the name with the name in learninghub (logged in student) Verify identity: If you recognize all students, greet them as you check your roster. If unknown to the proctor, as ll to hold a legal photo ID close to the camera and next to their name showing top right on a learninghub page where they should already be logged in.  A group of students can do this at the same time.
Secure testing space: Ask student to rotate camera slowly, so you can check that materials not allowed during the exam are not within sight or reach.  Request student to show, silence, and place their phone out of reach.  In the unlikely event of losing contact in the zoom, tell students to call you (give the number) right away.  The countdown continues and breaks in visibility compromise academic integrity. Shut down an exam where the student is not reconnected within 10-15 minutes.  Secure testing space:  If open book/note, skip this step. Otherwise, you can ask 2-3 students at a time to show all walls, table and floor by rotating camera slow enough to be sure the space is free of materials that cannot be referenced while taking the exam.  If you don't see their computer, prompt to re-enter with their cell phone, and then show the room again, positioning the phone/tablet balanced on a surface near their shoulder, showing their arms and computer.


Share screen & close apps:  In zoom, click the green box in the footer menu, then check all apps are closed besides the browser window for learninghub (unless open book, or otherwise specified e.g. writing essays in a word document, or using a spreadsheet).  If in doubt, ask them to click ALT+TAB (windows) or click menu and close all apps (mac).

Close apps and show screen:  Ask students to hold their second device close to the computer screen where they will be doing the exam to show that only learninghub is open (unless open book or otherwise specified). If in doubt, ask them to click ALT+TAB (windows) or click menu and force quit all apps (mac).

Begin the exam:  If a password is set, request control of the student's screen, type the password, note the timer (top right, highlighted - have them move the zoom video screen if not seen), and the yellow tab on the left which expands a column with each test item showing. If a flag is set, it shows in the navigation side bar, making it easy to return if time allows once reaching the end.   Note students are to keep their video and audio on and not to leave the now-approved exam setting until done.  Begin the exam: If some students will take the exam later, set a password that's easily heard (e.g. faith, enjoy or 22), say the password and tell students they can begin, after noting the timer counting down on screen and navigation tools.  Remind students to keep their video and audio on throughout, unless you individually ask them to mute due to distracting and unavoidable background noise e.g. kids. Accommodate students in shared spaces.  
Checking out: Once complete, students are to call out and wait for the proctor to check they've closed the exam session, before dismissing them.  Ask how they felt about the exam, as this is an ideal moment for constructive critique and to hear any perceived errors in exam set up, which a student needs reassurance you've heard (if not the instructor, promise to share the report and encourage the student to email their instructor with specifics before they forget) and errors will be carefully researched. Checking out: Have students waive their hand when done. View their screen and give them a smile and thumbs up, approving them leaving the meeting, if they are out of learninghub.  If not quietly remind them to close out. (Note that while you can mute all students so they can't hear each other, all students will hear you speak.)

What Ifs: 

  • Computer freezes – try refreshing the screen, wait a minute, exit and re-enter quiz 
  • Lose zoom connection – call student and trouble shoot, allowing to re-enter within 5 minutes
  • Disturbance – pay attention so student sees you are monitoring, usually no comments needed
  • Student asks – clarify within reason, suggest student emails questions to instructor afterward
  • Student upset – listen and clarify, solve if technical or report to instructor, copying student