If you’re familiar with assessments, you’ve probably heard the terms proctored and unproctored.
While it seems like the meaning of these terms should be fairly self-explanatory, there are several factors that go into a proctored or unproctored test that you should consider when deciding on what is best for you.
In the simplest terms, proctored testing means someone is present while the candidate is taking an assessment or exam. Proctored exams or assessments can be administered on a computer or using paper and pencil. Depending on the type of test, the proctor may or may not have to be certified.
A proctored assessment is the optimal administration format. You know for certain that the responses were given without input from other people or the use of supplemental tools (calculators, text books, etc.). You can also control the environment and eliminate the risk of distraction.
Unproctored exams are unsupervised tests that can be taken without a teacher or “proctor” present. Today, most non-proctored exams take the form of online assessments because they’re relatively easy to administer and can be taken at the student or candidate’s convenience.
However, the risk with some unproctored assessments is there is always a chance that the candidate solicited outside help. Because of this possibility, we highly recommend that you always follow up an unproctored test with a proctored version to confirm the results.
Proctored vs. Unproctored Exam: Which Should You Use?
Depending on what type of test you are administering, an unproctored environment can be quite sufficient. For example, when administering personality, integrity, or behavioral reliability assessments, you can be fairly certain that the results will be accurate even if the candidate did receive outside help. In the case of these tests, correct answers are based on a publisher’s research-based scoring key and therefore cannot be independently verified like answers to questions on skills and intelligence tests – making it very difficult to cheat.
On the other hand, if you are administering a basic skills or cognitive ability test where all correct answers can be ascertained without the assistance of the test publisher, you need to be more vigilant. This is where outside help could affect the accuracy of the results. To ensure that the results are representative of the candidate’s true ability, it is best to test passing candidates again in a proctored environment.