Legal and Pedagogical Issues with Online Exam Proctoring


  • Fernando Barrio Queen Mary University of London


The COVID-19 pandemic forced institutions around the world to conduct their operations remotely; this was also true for higher education. While online learning and teaching were known about generally, the meaningful assessment of students (while also assuring integrity of the assessment process) represented a new set of challenges, as exams had previously been in-person events. Online proctoring technologies, offered commercially with different levels of service, were presented as the solution to the problem of integrity. Universities globally embraced them as a panacea.

This article first analyses the legal issues arising from the use of such technologies, with a focus on data protection, human rights, and equality from an English law perspective, but with reference to other jurisdictions where relevant. It then considers the pedagogical implications of online proctoring. The article concludes that the use of online proctoring technologies in their current form breaches different aspects of student rights and breaks the bond of trust needed to foster learning. The article identifies the basis of the problem of over-reliance on exams as a form of assessment when the same online tools allow for the use of more innovative, inclusive, and rights-compliant forms of evaluation.






Refereed Articles