Independent Academic Study: Remote Proctoring Prevents Cheating

ProctorU highlights recent study from professors at Radford University showing cheating is common and profitable for students but online remote proctoring can deter exam misconduct

HOOVER, AL – ProctorU, the nation’s largest provider of remote proctoring and integrity safeguards for online testing and assessments, today highlighted recently published research from professors at Radford University in Virginia showing that remote test proctoring is effective at reducing cheating. Click to Tweet this news

The study by professors Seife Dendira of the Department of Economics and R. Stockton Maxwell of the Department of Geospatial Science at Radford, was published in the journal “Computers in Human Behavior Reports” in December. The research compared test outcomes in identical, online, asynchronous courses, one without proctoring and one with remote, recorded proctoring of the exams. The results contain two important findings: 

  • Cheating is a problem in online learning environments and that cheating was taking place when tests were given in unproctored conditions 

  • Remote proctoring reduces cheating incidents beyond reductions that may be achieved through other anti-cheating tools such as locking browsers

In the paper, Dendira and Maxwell wrote: 

“The main implication of these results is that academic dishonesty is indeed a serious issue in online courses. Despite a series of mitigation measures that were adopted without direct proctoring–such as the use of a special browser, a restricted testing period, randomized questions and choices, and a strict timer–it appears that cheating was relatively commonplace. Cheating apparently also paid off handsomely, at least when it comes to exam performance, often raising scores by about a lettergrade. A related implication is that some form of direct proctoring is perhaps the most effective way of mitigating cheating during high-stakes online assessments.” 


“The fact that a technological solution such as the one examined in this study (online proctoring through a webcam recording software) does an effective job in mitigating academic dishonesty is thus reassuring for all stakeholders. The results in this paper do not suggest that the solution is perfect – for that matter, there is no evidence that in-person monitoring is either – but they are significant enough to indicate its efficacy. Coupled with the relatively low-cost, user friendly nature of this type of technology, the results should broadly encourage its adoption by concerned faculty and institutions.”

The Radford research is significant in that it is the first to study the impact of exam proctoring on cheating specifically, finding online proctoring’s efficacy. “From these results one can also infer that online proctoring of assessments is a viable strategy to mitigate cheating in online courses,” Maxwell and Dendira wrote. 

“These findings are a welcome reinforcement of what we’ve seen over more than a decade of remote proctoring of academic exams and other important tests,” said Scott McFarland, CEO of ProctorU. “We know that cheating is a serious threat and that tactics such as browser restrictions and randomized questions won’t stop cheating on their own. Having a proctor, letting students know they could be seen and that the rules will be enforced, makes a big difference.” 

This addition to the literature on academic integrity comes at an urgent moment, as incidents of exam misconduct has increased dramatically over the past year, as a likely result of increased online instruction due to Covid-19.  

The research did not test ProctorU’s proctoring solutions but used a different system, one utilizing a “record and review” approach which records a test-taker for analysis and potential review after the test. By contrast, ProctorU nearly exclusively uses human proctors along with recorded and analyzed test sessions - a process that is shown to be more effective at preventing and detecting cheating attempts than automated systems. That this research shows that even these “record and review” options are effective is significant. 

ProctorU did not subsidize the research, nor coordinate or communicate with the researchers in this study before its release.  

About ProctorU

ProctorU provides a full suite of online proctoring and identity management solutions for education, professional development and credentialing organizations. With patented, 24/7 live proctoring backed by powerful analytics, ProctorU offers a complete, convenient and cost-effective alternative to physical test centers and a solution to the dangers of unproctored assessments. ProctorU increases access to online learning and career credentials while ensuring exam integrity and accountability for every test-taker.


Tweet: New study shows online test proctoring reduces cheating in online classes. #HigherEd #academicintegrity 

Tweet: Study reports: cheating remains a “common occurrence” in online classes. Cheaters score a full lettergrade higher. #highered #academicintegrity

Summary: ProctorU highlights a recent study from Radford University showing remote proctoring of exams reduces cheating. 

Tags: ProctorU, online learning, online testing, remote testing, proctoring, cheating, academic integrity, academic research 

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