Science

Students blocked by anti-cheat software for absurd reasons (e.g. crying during an exam)

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A University of Kentucky professor took advantage of a TikTok video to show his disapproval of colleagues who use remote proctoring software in exams. His intervention, for a few seconds, set off a wave of evidence of a malfunction of this type of system.

“It wasn’t even just a detailed video. I simply said, “As a teacher, if one of my colleagues tells me that he forced his student to use one of these programs, I will never look at it the same way again.” And it seems to have broken the dam of all this traumatic surveillance,” Joseph Fruwald, a professor at the University of Kentucky, said in a Twitter thread he posted after his short TikTok video.

This condemnation is part of a context in which the proportion of courses and exams taken remotely has skyrocketed, especially during the health crisis. Thus, the use of anti-fraud software seems to have become widespread in schools and universities in the United States. “As demand for remote monitoring has grown, we have expanded our footprint to 16 offices in 8 countries, staffed by the world’s largest certified monitoring and support staff,” according to the website of ProctorU, flagship monitoring software.

In the case of France, the National Commission for Computing and Liberties (CNIL) also published guidelines for schools in 2020 on enforcing regulations on data privacy and student freedoms. The organization has specific reservations regarding the use of eye tracking, often better known as “eye tracking”. “Furthermore, when the remote monitoring system “could pose a high risk to the rights and freedoms of the persons concerned”, the responsible person should carry out an impact analysis related to data protection (AIPD). In particular, the use of innovative technologies should be the subject of such an analysis (examples: the use of eye-tracking, algorithms and artificial intelligence).

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Legitimate distrust, according to the testimonies of the students who flocked to the publications of Josef Fruwald. This software has been criticized in particular for triggering sometimes unexpected criteria, in particular at the eye tracking level, to determine if there is fraud or not. “One of my French exams was flagged as cheating because I cried all the time and my French teacher had to watch me sob silently for 45 minutes,” the student explains in the comments on the Twitter thread in question.

“I was noticed for resting my head on my palm while I was working. The software expects you to sit down, both hands on the keyboard/test, facing directly in front of the camera with no rotation,” claims another.

In addition to the eye tracking system, the feedback concerns the work environment, which should be neutral: “Since the advent of COVID, LSAT has been using a monitoring system. I got yelled at for hanging a framed quote from my grandmother on the wall,” the student claims.

One can imagine that most schools do a manual check when compiling reports, but these warnings seem to put a lot of stress on students. Some even claim they were rejected because of a false alarm. “My husband still has two Bachelor of Arts subjects, and one of them is math, which requires an assessment test before admission. He was supposed to graduate two years ago, but he couldn’t take the math course because the NOISE OF THE FAN OF THE LAPTOP WORKED THE PROCTOR PROGRAM, ”one of the Internet users is indignant.

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