An unusual school year has started in earnest, and with it has come the return of digital proctoring programs. This is software that can lock down students’ computers, record their faces and scan their rooms, all with the intention to thwart cheating.
These programs, with names like ProctorU and Proctorio, first raised alarms about privacy as they were adopted by schools. Now many students are finding that the programs they’re required to use may not have been well-designed to consider race, class or disability — and in some cases, simply don’t work. Many are organizing on and across campuses for alternatives or for their eradication.
The rigidity of online proctoring has exacerbated an already difficult year, students say, further marginalizing them at the very moments they’re trying to prove themselves. Here are some things that can go wrong with testing and digital surveillance.