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CUNY must take initiative to provide clarity and consistency regarding exam proctoring

Penn State | Flickr

As the fall semester heads towards its halfway point and midterms beckon, exam proctoring has re-emerged as a pertinent topic of conversation.

CUNY originally planned to use the exam monitoring platform Proctorio, in conjunction with CUNY’s partnership with McGraw Hill Publishing.

However, this agreement drew widespread criticism and concern from the student bodies of multiple colleges across CUNY for the invasive permissions that Proctorio requires from their users in order to detect signs of cheating, as well as the potential actions that the platform can achieve with these permissions.

Some of these permissions include the management of all downloads, tracking of keystrokes and eye movements, and the opportunity to read and change any student data.

The outrage expressed by CUNY students was channeled into a petition that protested CUNY’s use of Proctorio and demanded alternative methods of proctoring.

“CUNY colleges must create solutions to test-taking that does not violate students’ right to privacy, especially in their own homes,” the petition stated.

Since the creation of this petition, which has over 28,000 signatures and counting at time of publication, CUNY has shelved the use of Proctorio.

While this could be seen as a triumph of student action, the state of exam monitoring across colleges in CUNY, especially Baruch College, are in limbo.

The burden of exam monitoring seemingly lies with the professor, and the use of any platform is inconsistent across the college, even within the same department.

Even so, any platform that could be implemented, such as ProctorTrack, would be subject to the same scrutiny as Proctorio in terms of privacy. Some professors have opted out of exam monitoring all together, instead using the honor system with their students.

The lack of clarity and consistency regarding exam monitoring has left students with many questions and an uncomfortable lack of answers. Conspicuously, there is one important voice that has remained silent throughout this period of confusion — CUNY’s.

Even though CUNY’s policies regarding exam proctoring are available for public consumption, the way that CUNY has communicated these policies is comparable to a whisper in the wind.

Placing the burden of communication and intelligence-gathering on the students and the professors is irresponsible, especially when CUNY has the means and the opportunity to provide much-needed clarity regarding the issue of exam proctoring.

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