13.1. Proctored Exam Overview

Proctored exams are timed exams that learners take while online proctoring software monitors their computer, environment, and behavior. When learners complete a proctored exam, the recording of the exam is examined to determine whether the learner complied with the online proctoring rules.

All courses can include proctored exams, but proctored exams are most common in courses that offer academic credit. Course teams can require that learners pass proctored exams to earn credit in the course. For information about offering academic credit, see Academic Course Credit.

Learners must be in the verified enrollment track to take a proctored exam and earn academic course credit.

Proctored exams on edx.org use proctoring software from third-party vendors. A course can use one of two proctoring software products: Software Secure RPNow and Verificient Proctortrack.

13.1.1. Comparison of RPNow and Proctortrack

RPNow and Proctortrack differ in the learner experience and proctoring review process.

Proctortrack has a required onboarding process, which learners must complete several days before they attempt a proctored exam. RPNow has instead an optional practice exam, which learners can use to become prepared for taking a proctored exam.

RPNow has a set of standard exam rules, which the course team can supplement with custom rules. Proctortrack requires you to choose from a collection of binary exam rules.

RPNow uses a secure browser that continuously uploads proctoring data to an RPNow server. This secure browser needs a consistent internet connection with at least 500 kbps bandwidth. If a learner’s connectivity drops below this level, or if the secure browser is closed after a learner has begun the exam, the exam will end and will be submitted to edX at the point they left off.

13.1.1.1. Review Process

Proctoring information collected by RPNow is submitted to Software Secure for review. If the learner’s exam behavior passes review, then the learner receives their exam grade. If the exam is marked as suspicious by Software Secure, then edX learner support reviews the exam as well. If the exam is approved by edX learner support, then the learner receives their exam grade. If the result is unclear, then the learner’s exam is reviewed by the course team for a final decision.

Proctoring information collected by Proctortrack is reviewed by machine, with spot-checking by Verificient Proctortrack reviewers. Proctortrack review decisions are posted on the Proctortrack dashboard for review by the course team. The course team reviews exams that are marked as failing the proctoring criteria and makes the final decision about whether to pass or fail the learner’s exam.

13.1.2. Criteria for Passing a Proctored Exam

Learners must satisfy the following criteria to pass a proctored exam.

  • Take the exam as a proctored exam.

    By default, learners have the option to take the exam as a proctored exam or as a regular exam. To remove this option, see Prevent Learners from Opting Out of Proctored Exams.

    Only learners in the verified enrollment track have the option to take the exam as a proctored exam. Learners in the audit track take the exam as a regular exam.

    Verified track learners who do not take the exam as a proctored exam are not eligible for course credit.

  • Download and install proctoring software.

  • Complete identity and exam environment checks.

  • Earn a passing grade on the exam.

  • Receive a Satisfactory result for their proctoring session review.

For more information about the way that learners experience proctored exams, see Taking Timed and Proctored Exams in the edX Help Center.

13.1.3. Prevent Learners from Opting Out of Proctored Exams

When a proctored exam opens, by default, verified learners have an option to take the exam without proctoring, and acknowledge that this option makes them ineligible for course credit.

If you do not want to allow verified learners to take proctored exams without proctoring, you can change a setting on the Advanced Settings page in Studio.

Note

If a learner opts to take an exam without proctoring, the exam will not be timed either. In effect, learners who opt out of proctoring will have unlimited time to complete the exam and could return to problem sets at any time. You can reduce the ability to view the exam by selecting a due date for the exam.

To remove the option for learners to opt out of proctored exams in your course, follow these steps.

  1. In Studio, select Settings, then select Advanced Settings.
  2. Locate the Allow Opting Out of Proctored Exams policy key. The default value is true, which gives verified learners the option of taking proctored exams without proctoring.
  3. Change the value of the setting to false.
  4. Select Save Changes.