Paul L. Caron

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Software That Monitors Students During Tests Perpetuates Inequality And Violates Their Privacy

MIT Technology Review:  Software That Monitors Students During Tests Perpetuates Inequality and Violates Their Privacy, by Shea Swauger (University of Colorado Denver):

MIT Technology ReviewThe coronavirus pandemic created a surge in demand for exam proctoring tools. Here’s why universities should stop using them.

The coronavirus pandemic has been a boon for the test proctoring industry. About half a dozen companies in the US claim their software can accurately detect and prevent cheating in online tests. Examity, HonorLock, Proctorio, ProctorURespondus and others have rapidly grown since colleges and universities switched to remote classes.

While there’s no official tally, it’s reasonable to say that millions of algorithmically proctored tests are happening every month around the world. Proctorio told the New York Times in May that business had increased by 900% during the first few months of the pandemic, to the point where the company proctored 2.5 million tests worldwide in April alone.

I'm a university librarian and I've seen the impacts of these systems up close. My own employer, the University of Colorado Denver, has a contract with Proctorio.

It’s become clear to me that algorithmic proctoring is a modern surveillance technology that reinforces white supremacy, sexism, ableism, and transphobia. The use of these tools is an invasion of students’ privacy and, often, a civil rights violation. ...

Technology didn’t invent the conditions for cheating and it won’t be what stops it. The best thing we in higher education can do is to start with the radical idea of trusting students. Let’s choose compassion over surveillance.

Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink


Link quote: "It’s become clear to me that algorithmic proctoring is a modern surveillance technology that reinforces white supremacy, sexism, ableism, and transphobia. The use of these tools is an invasion of students’ privacy and, often, a civil rights violation. ..."

No mention of contributing to global warming? That's an odd omission. Everything the Woke dislike is supposed to do that.

To state the obvious, while software that catches cheating may have issues here and there, the only 'right' it violates is an alleged 'right to cheat.' It only "reinforces white supremacy" if whites (including of course Asians) have less need to cheat and are thus less impacted by preventing them from doing so.

Interesting too, on close inspection, so many of these alleged attacks on "systemic racism" end up being racist in their core assumptions. Some groups have to cheat, the assumption is made, because they'll never make it on a level, cheat-free playing field.

Sorry, but I don't want to die because some med student years before and during the Covid-19 pandemic cheated on a topic that he needs to know to treat me. I want that degree he got to mean something.

Posted by: Mike Perry | Aug 10, 2020 6:24:32 AM

To put this suggestion in context, let’s understand that many students in college cheat.

45% of Law Students Cheat
In a 2005 research study, 75 percent of students admitted to cheating in school; 90 percent admitted to copying another student's test paper or homework. A 2009 study of 2,000 middle and high school students showed 35 percent of them used cell phones to cheat and 52 percent used the internet to cheat.

Cheating, Academic Dishonesty Widespread on Campuses, Survey Reveal
Cheating and other forms of academic dishonesty are prevalent on college and university campuses, according to the survey of students at public and private colleges and universities, including some online schools. Other findings include the following:
* 86% of students claimed they cheated in some way in school.
* 54% of students indicated that cheating was OK. Some went so far as to say it is necessary to stay competitive.
* 97% of the admitted cheaters say that they have never been identified as cheating.
* 76% of the students copied someone else’s assignments word for word.
* 72% indicated that they used their phone, tablet or computer to cheat in class.
* Only 12% indicated that they would never cheat because of ethics

even though many exams in pre-COVID days were proctored in person.

So the author of the article suggests that professors shouldn’t use programs which help deter and detect cheating on remote exams where it’s must easier to cheat because the programs “reinforce white supremacy, sexism, ableism, and transphobia” because:

* the cameras may need somewhat brighter room light for students with darker skins

*it doesn’t work as well for the tiny minority of anatomic males who dress and appear as women and visa versa

* etc.

So, because the programs may not work well under all circumstances - and presumably, in such situations, allowances may have to be made - professors should embrace the “radical idea of trusting students,” despite overwhelming evidence that there is widespread cheating even without adding to the temptation of online testing

Posted by: LawProf John Banzhaf | Aug 9, 2020 3:21:36 PM


Anti-test-cheating, surveilling software is racist too!

Give us more academic masturbation!

We demand more things be labeled racist!

The sky is the limit!

Posted by: Anon | Aug 9, 2020 8:15:58 AM

We have used Examity repeatedly and have not encountered any of the concerns this author raises. I worry about a different problem, which this author ignores: students who are part of the in-group have a much easier time cheating than students who are not. The primary function of anti-cheating software is deterrence, not actually catching anyone. If the software kicks students out for being black, its security level is obviously improperly adjusted. The problems the author identifies are avoidable.

Posted by: Ted Seto | Aug 9, 2020 7:39:49 AM