Paul L. Caron

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Syracuse Law School Will Use Proctoring Software On Final Exams Despite Bias, Security Concerns

The Daily Orange, College of Law Will Use Proctoring Software Despite Bias, Security Concerns:

ProctorTrackSyracuse University’s College of Law will begin using a controversial test proctoring software, despite concerns from students and experts that the software is discriminatory and prone to security breaches.

Most law students learned that the college would be using the software, called Proctortrack, to administer this fall’s final exams in a Nov. 2 email from the registrar. Others heard about the software from their professors, some of whom refuse to use it because of security risks and bias.

Proctortrack, an anti-cheating software, uses remote-monitoring technology to collect audio and video and document students’ web activity as they take exams. The software also scans faces, knuckles and student’s IDs to verify students’ identities.

Verificient Technologies, the New York-based company that developed and licenses Proctortrack, has been criticized by students and technology experts following a series of recent security breaches at other schools and colleges. Rutgers is one of multiple universities that halted exams following a Proctortrack breach, one where hackers masqueraded as company employees to gain access to Verficient’s servers. ...

Craig Boise, dean of the College of Law, defended Proctortrack in a Nov. 4 email to students. College officials directed The Daily Orange to the same statement when asked for comment.

Boise said professors, not testing software, will be the ultimate arbiters of academic integrity during final exams. The college shares students’ concerns that Proctortrack’s facial recognition and monitoring features may disproportionately impact students of color, students with disabilities and transgender students, he said.

“The best way to mitigate the impact of these experiences is to leave the ultimate decision making power to a human proctor, which is what we are doing,” Boise said.

“The law school is asking us to surrender to a company,” said Lillie Heigl, a third-year law student pursuing a joint degree in public administration.

Heigl created a petition, which currently has over 400 signatures, asking the college not to use the software. Students also created a Facebook page and organized an email campaign to encourage college deans and professors to reverse course.

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