Can Proctored Internet-Based Selection Tests Really Stop Cheating?

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Topic(s): assessment, selection
Publication: Journal of Business and Psychology
Article: Cheating, reactions, and performance in remotely proctored testing: An exploratory experimental study
Authors: M.N. Karim, S.E. Kaminsky, & T.S. Behrend
Reviewed by: Alexandra Rechlin

In order to curb potential cheating, many organizations have started using remotely proctored internet tests. But do they actually work? And could they have unintended consequences?

REMOTELY PROCTORED INTERNET-BASED SELECTION TESTS

Numerous methods can be used to administer proctored internet testing. One common method is real-time webcam monitoring, and another is real-time screen sharing. Some proctored testing software keeps other programs or applications from working while the test is going on. It can prevent screenshots, copy and paste, and more. It appears that remote proctored testing may be a good idea to prevent cheating in employment tests, but little research has been conducted on it.

 

THE CURRENT STUDY

In this study, Karim, Kaminsky, and Behrend (2014) used a sample of people who were playing the role of test-takers, and they motivated the test-takers to perform well by using an extra monetary incentive. Half of participants were told to use a webcam to record themselves taking the test, while the other half were not asked to record themselves. All participants completed two tests: a quantitative test that included practice GRE questions that were easily searchable online, and a logical reasoning test whose answers could not be found online.

 

RESULTS

Participants in the proctored exam had a higher sense of pressure and more concerns about privacy. In addition, more participants withdrew from the proctored test than from the non-proctored test. On a positive note, proctoring did seem to decrease cheating, as proctored participants scored worse on the test that was searchable but not the test that was non-searchable. However, this decrease was very small. Gender and numerous individual differences did not have an effect on how proctoring affected scores.

 

IMPLICATIONS FOR ORGANIZATIONS

This study suggests that although proctored internet tests (specifically, using a webcam) may slightly decrease cheating without affecting performance, it may also have a negative effect on applicant reactions. In addition, it’s important to consider privacy concerns and keep any recorded videos in a safe and secure location, and to delete them after they are no longer needed. The authors encourage being very cautious if you plan to use remote proctoring in your organization due to its potential for negative applicant reactions, which can lead to good applicants dropping out of the hiring process and applicants being less likely to recommend your organization to others.