What is online proctoring?
Online proctoring makes it possible to take exams online with remote supervision. To do this, the UvA uses the tool Proctorio. The system recognises suspect behaviour and reports instances of potential fraud. Online proctoring is a form of digital supervision of exams during which no invigilator is present (often exams taken off-campus). After the test, the recorded images, audio and screen activity can be reviewed, thus providing a countermeasure against fraud during remote exams by means of digital supervision. This enables exams to be held in a fair manner.
Please note: At the Faculty of Science, online proctoring is carried out with the ProctorExam software. More information about Online proctoring at the Faculty of Science.
How online proctoring works
The tool that the UvA uses for online proctoring is Proctorio. The software Proctorio is an add-on to the web browser on the PC or notebook that a student uses to take an exam. The software records audio and video to register what happens in the room in which the exam is taken, as well as the activity on the screen of your device. After completion of an exam, the system issues a risk score for each candidate, based on parameters set by the UvA. Based on these scores, a select group of trained UvA staff members, the so-called reviewers, get to work using a review protocol agreed with the faculty.
After an exam has been completed, the IDs of all candidates will be checked to confirm that Student X is indeed the Student X taking the exam. Reviewers will only look at other data if a candidate’s risk score gives reason to do so. If, based on this protocol, a reviewer detects a potential case of fraud, an official report will be compiled and submitted to the examination board. In other words, the reviewers are not there to assess, only to identify cases of potential fraud. The examination board will conduct an investigation and assessment based on the official report and the information recorded by Proctorio.
For the conducting of online exams, the UvA uses Proctorio’s software in combination with the central examination application TestVision Online (TVO). In exceptional situations, Canvas Quizzes or AnsDelft may be used.
Watch the video below if you want to know more about how Proctorio works and how to prepare for an online proctored exam.
Note: Some programmes use ProctorExam’s software for the purposes of online proctoring. More information about Online proctoring Proctor Exam.
Is it compulsory to identify myself using my UvA student card?
Your primary means of identification is your student card. If you have lost your student card, please request a new one. Processing new card requests takes a few days, and is subject to a fee.
If for any reason you do not have your student card with you, it is also possible to identify yourself using your passport or ID card. However, when doing so, make sure that your citizen service number (BSN) and signature are hidden from the camera.
What to do if you have missed or are unable to take an exam
In principle, we assume that you will participate in the exam. However, you may not be able to participate in an online proctored exam:
- due to illness;
- by not having the correct technical resources;r
- by not having a suitable space at home;
- or because you object to online proctoring despite the fact that the use of online proctoring is GDPR-proof.
If you cannot participate due to illness, the same rules apply as for physical exams.
It will not work to get the necessary hardware around
We strongly recommend that you check that your system meets the requirements for online proctoring (see proctorio.com/support) by taking the Proctorio Practice Test in advance. If it turns out that you do not have the right technical resources at home, we ask you to first call on your housemates, friends and/or family. If the Proctorio Practice Test shows that it is not possible to make the necessary hardware work at home, it is possible to take the exam at a (UvA) location. Register in good time at the Education Desk of your degree program to find out how you can submit a request to take the exam with online proctoring at a UvA location (provided that RIVM guidelines allow this).
I do not have a suitable room to take an exam
If there is no suitable room at home where you can take an exam alone, or there are other compelling reasons why it is not possible for you to take an exam safely and quietly, please report to the Education Desk of your degree program in good time to inquire how to submit a request to take the exam with online proctoring at a UvA location (if RIVM guidelines allow this).
I still have some concerns about privacy when examining with online proctoring
Privacy objection is not recognized as an exceptional situation. In a Short Proceedings procedure of the UvA it was extensively discussed whether the use of Proctorio falls within the framework of the GDPR. The judge has confirmed that this is the case and the use of Proctorio is therefore legal. In doing so, the UvA acts in accordance with the applicable privacy rules.
Does the room in which I take the online exam have to meet certain requirements?
- Ensure that it is a place where you will not be disturbed;
- Ensure that nobody else is present in the room;
- Ensure that the room is quiet (no music or other sources of noise);
- Ensure that you have a strong WiFi connection (Position yourself close to the WiFi router or use a cable connection, ask housemates/family members not to download or stream movies, use the microwave etc.;
- Make sure that there are no books, summaries, problem solutions, notes etc., unless it has been clearly stated in advance that these are permitted.
We understand that this is a unique situation and that you may not be able to control everything. Please try to observe the above requirements to the greatest possible extent.
What should I do if I cannot or do not want to take a proctored exam at home?
If there is no suitable room at home where you can take an exam alone or there are other compelling reasons why it is not possible for you to take an exam safely and quietly, please report to the Education Desk of your degree program in good time to inquire how to submit a request to take the exam at a UvA location. The faculty assesses whether there is a reason for a test on location (if RIVM guidelines allow this).
Note: in the case of a proctored exam, nothing will change in the way the test is taken. Just like at home, the exam will also be taken with online proctoring at the UvA location. At the moment there is limited capacity available on location, so submit your request well in advance.
My housemate(s) and I have to take the same exam in the same room. Is this permitted?
Where possible, we ask students to each find their own room. If this is not possible, we advise students to submit a request to their faculty’s examination board, clearly explaining the situation. The board will inform them as to what they must do.
Am I allowed to have a mirror in my room?
Yes, having a mirror in your room is not a problem.
The online proctoring guidelines state that I am not allowed to have any texts or cheat sheets in my room. Does this include posters bearing text that has nothing to do with the exam?
We do not see a problem with this, but we recommend that you carefully consider whether any doubts could arise on this point. If so, it is better to temporarily remove the poster.
Hardware, software and internet connection
What equipment do I need to take online exams?
In order to be able to take an online exam, you need the following:
- a laptop that satisfies the requirements found at proctorio.com/system-requirements;
- a working webcam;
- a working microphone;
- internet access in order to connect to the exam application;
- paper, pen, pencil, ruler etc. in order to work out any open questions that must be worked out on paper. This will be communicated in advance by the lecturer;
- a telephone with a camera in order to upload photos of hand-written answers, but only if the exam contains questions that must be worked out on paper;
- the latest version of Edge, Chrome, Opera or Brave. Visit the Proctorio website to download;
- the Proctorio plugin installed as an extension. Install this plugin using the Proctorio website;
- your UvA student card to identify yourself, or an ID with the citizen service number (BSN) and signature concealed;
- a strong internet connection through WiFi or ethernet cable.
- A strong internet connection (1Mbps upload) is preferable.
- Close all unnecessary applications and, preferably, restart your laptop/PC before the exam.
- Close all tabs and browser sessions that you will not need.
- Do not use any headphones, headset or advanced earbuds (simple foam earplugs are allowed).
Note: other equipment (virtual or otherwise) is NOT allowed (e.g. a second or third screen, your mobile phone acting as an extra screen, a virtual microphone, etc.).
What should I do if I don’t have a laptop with a webcam or microphone, am unable to borrow one from family, friends or fellow students, and the stores do not have any webcams in stock?
Contact the University Library to see whether you can borrow a Chromebook (limited availability).
During the identification process for the online proctoring, you may be asked to perform a 'desk scan'. When should you do this?
Like the identification check, the ‘desk scan’ may be part of the Proctorio Practice Test and the real exam. Not all faculties will ask for a desk scan. If you skip the room scan when asked, your exam cannot be processed. It is therefore important that you do the room scan. For this, you must pick up your laptop and turn it so that the camera can see your entire desk/workspace. It must be clear that there are no additional materials or prohibited materials on your desk. For both the room scan and the desk scan it is important that you practice this well during the Proctorio Practice Test and that you carefully consider which objects in your room/on your desk you should put somewhere out of sight during the exam.
- During the installation of the Proctorio plugin, the plugin is requesting permission to access my webcam and microphone and to share my screen. Do I have to grant this permission?
May I use a smartphone as a webcam?
No, this is not allowed.
May I use an extra screen?
No, this is not allowed.
May I use a VPN connection?
No, this is not allowed. Proctorio will recognise any use of VPNs or anonymous proxy services. These programmes are designed to conceal your identity, and may therefore not be used during exams.
Is it allowed to use a wired internet connection (using an ethernet cable) with online proctoring?
Yes, this is permitted.
Is it obligatory to use Google Chrome, or may other browsers (like Firefox) also be used?
The latest version of Edge, Chrome, Opera or Brave can be used. Visit the Proctorio website to download.
How do I take an exam on my Macbook?
To take a proctored exam on a Macbook (MacOS 10.15 Catalina or other type) you need to adjust the privacy settings to share your screen. Go through the following steps:
- Go to the Apple menu by clicking on the logo at the top left. Go to: System Preferences> Security and Privacy> Privacy> Screen recording. Check the box next to Google Chrome and click "Apply".
- If you are asked to quit Chrome, you do not need to do so. You can click "Later".
- Adjust the size of the screen so that it is not maximum, then do a retest and share your screen.
For more information or support, contact Proctorio 24/7 Support in the Live Chat or email at email@example.com.
Do I personally have to do anything to make sure that my webcam and/or microphone are working properly during an exam subject to online proctoring?
We have been receiving questions about cameras and/or microphones not working in certain applications. In some cases, the cause lies in the privacy settings: The options “Allow apps to access your camera” and/or “Allow apps to access your camera microphone” are disabled. Enable this option to enable use of the microphone/camera. You can use the Proctorio Practice Test to test whether your microphone and camera are working. We ask that you do this sufficiently in advance.
Does Proctorio block part or all of the use of my laptop? Or can I still open documents, e.g. the book that I need for the open book exam?
The online proctoring software does not block the usage of other applications. The software does record everything that happens on your screen. Of course, if you are using applications, books etc. that are permitted by your lecturer, this does not pose a problem. Your lecturer will inform you as to which tools and aids are permitted for the exam.
Do I need to have a printer at home in order to take exams?
No, you do not need a printer. However, some exams do require pen and paper to work out certain questions (e.g. mathematical equations). This will be communicated in advance by the lecturer.
Can I use a guest account on my laptop for the exam?
Yes, you can create and use a guest account on your laptop for the purposes of taking the exam. Some students prefer to install the Proctorio plugin in a guest account instead of in their usual account.
Before the test
How can I prepare for an online exam subject with Proctorio?
1. Check which exam system will be used for your exam
The Canvas page for each module states which exam application will be used for the exam. The following step-by-step guides will help you ensure that you are well prepared for the online exam.
Check which exam system will be used for your exam
2. Install Google Chrome
Install the latest version of the Google Chrome web browser by using the Google Chrome website.
3. Install the Proctorio plugin
Install this plugin using the Proctorio website.
4. Use a Proctorio Practice Test to test whether your hardware, software and internet connection are adequate
When your faculty makes a Proctorio Practice Test available, you will find this Proctorio Practice Test when you log in to TestVision. You can use this to test whether your own hardware (such as your laptop and camera/webcam), software and internet connection are good enough to take the exam. Make sure that you take the Proctorio Practice Test using the same set-up that you will be using for the real exam. Also ensure that (like with the real exam) you first close all unnecessary software and websites. A stable internet connection with a minimum upload speed of 1 Mbps is recommended for Proctorio. You can check the requirements to be able to take exams on Proctorio’s website at the bottom of the page under Proctorio Minimum System Requirements.
If you experience problems while taking Proctorio Practice Test, please contact Proctorio directly. Proctorio is available 24/7 through the Live Chat in the Proctorio Practice Test or at https://proctorio.com/support.
If your laptop is not suitable, you can rent a laptop at www.studiepc.nl/ or Surfspot for a small fee. If neither website can provide you with a laptop, contact the University Library to see whether you can borrow a Chromebook (limited availability).
5. Take the Proctorio Practice Test so that you know what to expect
We ask that you take theProctorio Practice Test well in advance. This give you enough time to solve any technical problems you may experience. If you have questions, please contact Proctorio first, through the Live Chat in the Proctorio Practice Test or at https://proctorio.com/support.
If you are unable to resolve the issue with their help, contact your own faculty.
6. Ensure that you are up to date on key topics
In order to ensure that you are well prepared for your exam, it is important that you at least know the following:
- How to take a proctored exam on paper
- How to take a proctored exam without paper
- How to take a multiple choice proctored exam
Want to know more? Watch the video below for more information about how to prepare for an online proctored exam.
Can I practise how to deal with online proctoring?
Yes, all students must practise dealing with online proctoring by taking a Proctorio Practice Test. This is of crucial importance in order to be able to take the real exam. If your faculty makes a Testvision-Proctorio practice test available, you will find this practice test when you log in to TestVision. For more information, please contact the designated person/department within your faculty.
What should I do if I experience technical problems before taking an exam?
Before your online exam:
- For all technical questions about the use of Proctorio, contact Proctorio through the Proctorio Live Chat in the exam or at https://proctorio.com/support.
- Any other questions, please contact the designated person / department within your faculty.
- If you are experiencing problems immediately before the start of your exam, please contact the UvA LiveChat at examsupport.uva.nl. LiveChat can be reached 30 minutes before the start of the exam.
During the test
What should I do if I experience problems with the use of online proctoring during the exam?
If you are experiencing (technical) problems during exam, you can report these to the UvA LiveChat at examsupport.uva.nl. LiveChat can be reached 30 minutes before the start of the exam.
Is it a problem if my internet connection occasionally fails while taking an exam through online proctoring?
It is important to ensure a stable internet connection. Tip: long ethernet cables are not expensive and make your connection much more stable. If you still experience technical problems despite having a stable internet connection, you can report these to:
- The UvA LiveChat at examsupport.uva.nl if you are experiencing other technical problems immediately before or during the exam.
- In the exceptional case that you are unable to solve your issue via LiveChat, please contact the designated person/department within your faculty.
Do I have to put my phone in flight mode while taking an exam subject to online proctoring?
When taking exams at the end of which it is necessary to upload files using your phone, you are permitted to have a phone within reach. However, during the exam, this phone must be set to flight mode and may only be used to take and upload pictures at the end of the exam.
Students are required to supply their own “empty” paper for online proctoring. How empty must this paper be?
For some exams, it is announced in advance that the use of paper is required (to work out questions) or permitted (scrap paper). In order to prevent confusion during the assessment of the video images, students are required to use blank paper. Ruled or squared paper is allowed, but it must be unused and must be held up in front of the webcam for a clear view (front and back).
With online proctoring, students are asked to hold up their hand-written answers in front of the webcam for two seconds. However, my webcam is a bit fuzzy and not very easy to read. Is this a problem?
It is not a problem if not all details are visible, but we must be able to see the layout of the entire sheet. The photo that you upload is compared to the webcam scan. You are not allowed to make any changes after you have shown your answers to the webcam.
Am I allowed to use scrap paper?
Your examiner will determine which aids – such as scrap paper – are allowed during the exam. This will be announced before the exam. When the use of scrap paper is allowed, we recommend that you use a clean white, blank sheet of paper.
Am I allowed to use a calculator or graphing calculator?
Your examiner will determine which aids – such as graphing calculators – are allowed during the exam. This will be announced before the exam.
I am taking an open book exam, but my books are on my e-reader/iPad. Am I allowed to use this device?
iPads and e-readers are not permitted with online proctoring. You are allowed to consult the book on your laptop. You should therefore make sure to install the required software on your computer.
Am I allowed to save any exam material, e.g. by taking screenshots?
No. Without the express permission of the examiner, you are not allowed to take screenshots or save any exam material in any other way.
Am I allowed to eat, drink or take medication during exams and therefore have food, drink or medication on my desk?
As is the case when taking exams at the UvA, you are allowed to drink from a small bottle and consume a small snack during the exam. In other words, you should not have entire fruit baskets on your desk or make yourself a sandwich during the exam. Aside from this, your desk should be empty. You are allowed to take medication.
Am I allowed to go to the bathroom during online exams?
No, during online exams subject to online proctoring, you are not allowed to go to the bathroom. Unless you have express permission from the examination board, e.g. for medical reasons. You should therefore make sure to go to the bathroom before you start the exam.
I did not receive any confirmation after uploading a file (photo or PDF file). The screen remained empty for a while and I did not see any confirmation that the upload succeeded.
After uploading a file to TestVision, the file name is shown. You can view the uploaded file, remove it and/or upload another file if desired.
I have a right to extra time. Is this taken into account during online proctoring exams as well?
The normal procedures to qualify for extra time during exams apply. If you have been granted extra time, this also goes for online exams.
What is considered to constitute potential fraud during exams subject to online proctoring?
Fraud is assessed among others by looking for the behaviour and actions described below. Note: the faculty determines, before the exam is held, which behaviour and actions will be given the greatest weight.
- excessive looking away from the screen (once or repeatedly)
- whether the student leaves the room
- whether the student uses aids (e.g. headphones or a graphing calculator) without the express permission of the examiner
- whether other faces can be seen
- whether new tabs are opened without the express permission of the examiner
- whether the student exits the browser without the express permission of the examiner
- whether the student uses software other than the examination software without the express permission of the examiner
- whether the audio signal does not match the video
- whether the starting time, ending time and duration of the exam do not match
infographic explaining how proctored exams are analysed.
How is fraud assessed?
Online proctoring software identifies suspicious behaviour, but does not determine whether fraud has been committed. The identification of potential cases of fraud is carried out by a select group of trained UvA staff, referred to as reviewers, who will monitor the recordings after the exam has been completed, following a specific protocol. If, based on this protocol, a reviewer detects a potential case of fraud, an official report will be compiled and submitted to the examination board. The reviewers do not assess, they only identify potential cases of fraud. The examination board investigates and adjudicates based on the official report.
If fraud is suspected, what happens next?
When a reviewer suspects fraud, they compile an official report and submit it to the relevant examination board. From that moment on, the examination board is responsible for the handling of the case. You can find the examination board on your programme’s or faculty’s page.
Is Proctorio safe to use?
The decision to select Proctorio followed an extensive process in which we looked at possible privacy and security issues. No vulnerabilities were found in the process.
Proctorio was asked to subject their infrastructure and the browser plugin to an independent pen test. Risk analyses and Data protection Impact Assessments were carried out and submitted to the UvA’s Chief Information Security Officer and Data protection Officer. On this basis agreements have been made with the supplier about regularly carrying out security audits, acquiring and maintaining ISO27001 certification and how to handle sensitive data.
I read that it is possible to hack into Proctorio. Is that true?
On 17 June 2021 a researcher reported a vulnerability to Proctorio in the form of a ‘responsible disclosure’. This report was investigated immediately and on 24 June 2021 Proctorio released a new version of the plugin, which solved the issue. There have been no indications that the detected vulnerability was in fact exploited.
What happens to the saved data after an exam subject to online proctoring?
The data is stored in an encrypted form in an environment that can only be accessed by authorised UvA staff. After the stored video and sound data has been assessed, it is deleted as soon as possible (check the privacy statement for the exact timeframes).
Can my data be used for any other purposes than online proctoring?
No. Your data can only be used to detect fraud.
When is the Proctorio extension in my Chrome browser active?
The Proctorio extension for Chrome is only active while you are taking a proctored exam. At that time, the Proctorio shield icon changes from grey to green. In other words, the extension is not active before or after exams are taken. If you are worried about your privacy, you can uninstall or deactivate the Proctorio extension and reinstall or reactivate it when you take another proctored exam.
Can I temporarily or permanently uninstall or deactivate the Proctorio extension?
The Proctorio extension for Chrome is only active while you are taking a proctored exam. In other words, it is not active before or after exams are taken. If you are worried about your privacy, you can uninstall or deactivate the Proctorio extension after you have taken an exam.
You can uninstall the extension by clicking on the Proctorio shield icon in the upper right corner of your Chrome browser. Click “remove from Chrome”, then click “remove”. However, you will need to reinstall the extension next time you take a proctored exam.
It is also possible to deactivate the extension instead of uninstalling it. You can do this by clicking on the Proctorio shield icon in the upper right corner of your Chrome browser. Click “manage extensions”, then click “off”. Don’t forget to reactivate the extension before you take another proctored exam. You can do this by clicking on the Proctorio shield icon, then clicking “manage extensions”, and then “on”.
How does the UvA handle privacy and security with regard to online proctoring?
We consider your privacy to be a very important aspect in this process. We have concluded a data processing agreement with Proctorio and formulated a privacy statement outlining which information Proctorio and UvA process and how your privacy is safeguarded. The data is encrypted and stored by Proctorio. Proctorio has stated the following: “Military-grade, zero-knowledge encryption ensures that your exam information is kept safe.” In this form of encryption, an already encrypted message is encrypted one or more additional times using the same or a different algorithm. This means that Proctorio can’t use your personal information to identify you personally. The term “zero knowledge” means that Proctorio does not know anything about the data stored on its servers. Finally, Proctorio does not have access to your data. Only authorised UvA staff members have access.
In deciding to allow online proctoring, UvA paid particular attention to these points and ensured that:
- the data is only accessibly by authorised UvA staff who have been mandated by the examination board of the relevant faculty.
- the company supplying the software (Proctorio) cannot view the images, which are encrypted (end-to-end, zero-knowledge encryption).
- the servers are located in the EU and the stored video and audio data is deleted as soon as possible after assessment
- the images will never be used for anything other than the detection of potential fraud.
- The solution complies with the GDPR. The Data Protection Officer issued a positive opinion, as indicated in the privacy statement.
The following infographics clearly explain which data is stored and what happens to your personal data:
To what extent does the American CLOUD Act affect the data streams, given that the online proctoring party is located in the USA?
The CLOUD Act applies to this content as well. The UvA’s privacy officer has conducted a risk analysis and determined that the risk that the CLOUD Act will be implemented with regard to this content to be very low. For this reason, we have chosen to work with Proctorio for exams subject to online proctoring, especially in view of the study delays that students would otherwise incur and the consequences thereof. The UvA complies with the GDPR and uses the data protection measures that the European Commission has made available, namely standard contractual clauses. No damages may therefore be claimed.
I am still somewhat worried about privacy when it comes to exams subject to online proctoring.
We are doing everything we can to prevent study delays during the current corona crisis. We have therefore asked lecturers to come up with as many alternative forms of examination as possible. However, no alternative forms fo examination could be found for some courses. In those cases, we decided to use online proctoring, because these exams would otherwise have to be delayed indefinitely. The Data Protection Officer has therefore determined that the UvA may make use of online proctoring based on the principle of legitimate interest.
If you do not wish to participate in an exam subject to online proctoring, you will have to wait until corona measures are relaxed and we can once again offer exams and resits on site. This will delay your studies. That is why we are trying to solve this issue as best we can through alternative forms of examination and online proctoring.
Any further questions?
- If you have a problem starting Proctorio: first read the FAQ on this page.
- Didn't find your answer? please contact the designated person/department within your faculty.
- If you have a problem during your exam, please contact examsupport.uva.nl
- You can ask questions about privacy to the GDPR team (firstname.lastname@example.org).