Does proctoring comply with privacy rules? Has sufficient consideration been given to alternatives? The Faculty Student Council has asked the Faculty Board a number of questions about the use of proctoring at the FdR. Read the answers and the vision of the board here.
In close consultation with the examination board, the board has thoroughly examined all alternatives, such as the use of multiple versions, limited time slots, a ban on backtracking, after-calls, and choices for essay forms. For examinations in the lower bachelor years, however, these forms do not offer a suitable alternative. For example, in the case of an introductory course from the first bachelor's year, whose learning objectives are primarily aimed at the acquisition of elementary knowledge of the subject, testing by means of take home exams or papers cannot be used. It is precisely in this form of assessment that outside help can make a big difference. The faculty has investigated whether alternative forms of testing are available to counter the risk of fraud in such subjects, but has found that this is not the case.
In period four and five there was a sudden situation of force majeure. The examination committee has used a number of fraud-reducing means. With the idea that this situation would not continue for too long, the committee agreed that in some examinations the possibility of committing fraud had only been overcome to a limited extent. Now that we can assume that this situation will continue for some time to come, other means have been sought to ensure that the student himself, independently and without the help of unauthorised sources, takes the examination.
On the contrary, the fact that the faculty allows students in a home situation to take exams, without the control that is normally applied in exams, shows a great deal of trust in students. But trust does not mean that no control is needed. All universities have protocols and procedures in place to combat fraud. This is not prompted by a lack of trust in students, but by the experience that a number of students commit fraud during examinations. Universities also have the responsibility to guarantee the reliability of examinations. Both principles remain fully applicable in the case of remote examinations.
Yes, the board is aware of the concerns of students and has made every effort to investigate alternatives that are similarly suitable to guarantee the reliability of examinations. When setting up proctoring, the faculty will opt for institutions that are perceived by students as being as burdensome as possible.
When Amsterdam Law School intends to use proctoring, it assumes that this system has an adequate legal basis. This is in accordance with the communication of the UvA, and in accordance with the ruling in KG of the District Court of Amsterdam.
Online proctoring complies with the AVG. On the basis of a Data Protection Impact Assessment, the Data Protection Officer advised positively on the use of Proctorio during the corona crisis.
There is a lot of experience with proctoring, both at the UvA and elsewhere. Students who have had to deal with this form of testing often indicate that they were no longer aware of the presence of proctoring after just a few minutes. Therefore, those who do not intend to cheat and want to take their exams honestly have no reason to be concerned.
If for a particular examination it has been judged that there is no suitable alternative to the use of proctoring, students cannot claim an alternative way of testing. However, it is possible to request permission to take the examination at a UvA location on the basis of personal circumstances. This must be an urgent matter. Objections to the use of proctoring do not count as personal circumstances that may underlie such a request.
The faculty itself sets the parameters on which the 'suspicion level' of the proctoring session is based. For example, Amsterdam Law School will choose different parameters than other faculties to ensure that the permitted consultation of collections of laws and jurisprudence is not 'flagged'. A trained staff member of the UvA's Educational Logistics Bureau will, according to a fixed university-wide template, view the image and audio material of 10-20% of the students who score highest on the 'suspicion level'.
If the reviewer gets the impression from the observation of the video material that a student has had contact with a third party during the exam, or has used a prohibited source of information, he will regard this as suspicious behaviour. The reviewer will present this to the examiner. The examiner may then refer the suspicion of fraud back to the examination board. The committee may then decide to take a closer look at a student's proctor session and determine on the basis of the recorded material whether follow-up steps will be taken before fraud is established.