Advice For Exam Proctoring and ID Checking with Zoom

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By Laura Stoutenburg and Joel Beaupré

As college faculty continue adapting to the practice of remote evaluation, a range of tools and strategies have been used to help facilitate tests and exams. For example, some have used Zoom to assist with certain aspects of remote proctoring, including the need to verify students’ identities prior to or during a test. This practice can, however, be difficult for both faculty and students and may be better managed by using some of the suggestions outlined here:

  • Photo Class List Check: Early in the semester, remind students to upload their official ONE Card photo so that faculty can verify their appearance using the Class List > Photo ID feature under the Faculty tab in the Employee Portal. This tool provides a straightforward way to match names with faces, which helps mitigate the need to conduct manual ID checks when facilitating tests.

Note: The college connects with students to ensure they are aware of the uses of the ONE Card and the process to obtain their ONE Card in the following ways:  

  • Orientation Checklist 
  • International Student Checklist 
  • Direct Email to Incoming Students 

Still, if faculty notice that some photos aren’t appearing in the system, they can remind students to explore the benefits of getting their card. 

  • Get to Know Student Images: Throughout the semester, faculty can also do their best to normalize the use of video during weekly class meetings so that they are able to identify students without requiring IDs at exam time. Although students always have the choice to opt out of this or mute their cameras whenever they wish (and some might not have access to webcams in the initial stages of the semester), many will accept and value the opportunity to participate in a more visual, interactive format. Faculty can also join small groups or individuals in breakout rooms and ask for video on. Having the photo class list on hand can allow faculty to check off who they are familiar with.
  • Spot Check ID: Students should be advised they must have ID on hand for all tests and exams. On the day of exams, if faculty still need to verify the identity of some students, those individuals can be asked to arrive on Zoom prior to the official start of the test so that they can display their photo ID (preferably a ONE Card) within a private space such as a breakout room on Zoom. Students can also be pulled into a breakout room for a check should a concern arise.

Remember: a student’s ID is private and confidential; it is not to be displayed or shared in the presence of other students.

  • Double-Check: If faculty decide to visually proctor test-takers over Zoom, it may be helpful to occasionally check in by asking students or individuals to raise their hand or gesture that they can hear instructions. This confirms their connection, reminds them that faculty are present for support, and discourages tactics such using a virtual video background to imitate presence at the computer (See the example demonstrated here).
  • E-Proctoring Tools: Finally, faculty can consider using the more established proctoring service, Respondus Monitor, if their exam is closed book and more susceptible to being compromised in a remote setting. This tool offers its own secure way of verifying a student’s ID, as demonstrated in this video at around the 3:30 mark.

Note: Respondus comes with its own set of challenges for both faculty and students, and its reports still require manual oversight and review. Please refer to the Respondus Monitor Guide on student exemptions, notifications, and onboarding for more information.

Background Reading:

Eaton, S. (2020). 3 reasons why proctoring an exam on Zoom is a bad idea. Retrieved from here.

Harvard University – Department of Government. (2020). Proctoring a closed-book exam in Zoom. Retrieved from here.

Lin, A. (2020). Let slip the dogs of war: The current e-proctoring dilemma. Retrieved from here.

Norman, D. (2020). Zoom online exam proctoring demo. Retrieved from here.


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  • Published: January 18, 2021
  • Word Count: 969
  • Reading time: ~ 3 minutes
  • Rights: This work is ©2021 All Rights Reserved
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