Assessment and remote proctoring guidelines for Fall 2020 (September 14, 2020)

[Summary: This message outlines recommendations for Fall 2020 final examinations. We strongly suggest that instructors adopt alternatives to standard in-class exams and assessments. If such alternatives are not feasible, online exam proctoring should be conducted remotely by Yale personnel using Zoom. The Poorvu Center will provide recommendations for remote proctoring and a new graduate student remote proctor position will be introduced.]

Dear Colleagues,

We write looking ahead, with information regarding final examinations. As we learned last spring, equitable assessment of student performance is a recognized challenge for faculty teaching remotely. As a first step, we ask that you consider modified assessments or develop alternatives to standard in-class assessments. The Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning provides resources to assist instructors who wish to develop new forms of assessment for their online courses.

We strongly suggest that you adapt your final assessments to these guidelines, but we acknowledge that major changes may not always be possible. Some instructors will continue to rely on forms of assessment that resemble traditional in-class approaches and thus require proctors. If you must administer assessments that require support from online proctors, we offer the following guidance.

Online proctoring should be conducted using Zoom and Yale personnel

  • The options to contract with third party proctoring services, whether based on humans or artificial intelligence, entail concerns that have not been thoroughly addressed.  Yale courses that require remote proctoring, therefore, will use Yale instructors or teaching fellows, connecting with students through Zoom. The sessions will be recorded for review if warranted by concerns about academic integrity. This approach closely resembles standard methods by which Yale in-person exams are proctored.  
  • The Poorvu Center will work with the Registrar, Yale Summer Session, and the Office of General Counsel to outline best practices and recommendations for instructors who choose to employ remote proctoring. The Registrar and OGC will provide critical input about how to manage data created as a result of remote proctoring sessions (the recordings) and ensure that guidelines are in compliance with relevant policies protecting privacy.
  • In further consultation with the Poorvu Center and the Yale Summer Session, which has used remote proctoring, we have determined that a ratio of ten students to one proctor is effective. Fall teaching fellows may serve as proctors in the courses to which they are assigned as they normally do, but remotely instead of in person. Such staffing may not be adequate for remote proctoring, especially for large courses.  To meet this need, we will create a new graduate student position for remote proctors, paid on an hourly basis. Proctors do not need expertise in the field for which the assessment is being conducted, and they may do the proctoring from any location with privacy and a stable internet connection.
  • The Poorvu Center will develop a position description for online proctors. We will write again at mid-term to detail the hiring process.
  • The responsibility to review recordings of proctoring sessions and evaluate suspected breaches of academic integrity belongs to the instructor of record for the course. The proctors, whether they are teaching fellows in the course or hired on a temporary basis, will be given instructions about observations that may warrant a review by the instructor and how to communicate such observations.
  • Decisions about how to assess student learning are best determined by the instructor, including the decision to use remote proctoring.  Instructors should inform students if they plan to use remote proctoring for exams early in the course. We encourage instructors to consult with the Poorvu Center to explore alternative forms of assessment and, if needed, to discuss best practices for implementing Zoom-based remote proctoring.

Thank you for all of your work teaching and supporting our students during this challenging semester.

With gratitude,

Tamar, Marvin, and Lynn

Tamar Szabó Gendler
Dean, Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Marvin Chun
Dean, Yale College

Lynn Cooley
Dean, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences