Extended remote learning, biometrics concerns prompt protest against proctoring apps
The undergraduate student senate of the University of California – Davis has unanimously passed legislation “urging” faculty to swear off proctoring software during the current winter academic quarter, in part because of concerns about its use of biometrics.
Remote learning was extended until January 28 by the school’s chancellor, which will include midterms, according to student news publisher The Davis Vanguard.
Remote proctor services have become increasingly controversial. They tend to use face biometrics, and have been observed to be less successful in verifying people who are not white, middle-aged and male.
And because most students take remote tests in their home, activity and sounds in the background can be recorded however briefly and possibly analyzed. It is seen as an unnecessary invasion of privacy.
Any glitches in the biometrics-based log-on process or during an exam cause delays during timed exams or even wrongly eject a student.
Other concerns cited relate to access to technology and identity documents.
Student senators are pushing for more than a stay. They want all proctor contracts ended.
University administrators have said digital proctoring is more accurate than conventional monitoring to keep test takers honest and measure how well they know a subject, according to the Vanguard.
It is unclear if student legislation can force a change in university policy.