Proctored vs. Non-Proctored Testing: What to Consider

If you are familiar with assessments, you have probably heard the terms proctored and non-proctored. While it seems like the meaning of these terms should be fairly self-explanatory, there are several factors that go into a proctored or non-proctored test that you should consider when deciding on what is best for you.

Proctored Tests

In the simplest terms, proctored means someone is present while the candidate is taking the assessment. Proctored tests 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.

Proctored assessments are 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.

Non-Proctored Tests

Non-proctored tests are unsupervised. Many times they are online assessments that a candidate takes from home.

Remote assessments have several advantages in that they are easy to administer, candidates can take them at their convenience, and a proctor is not needed.

However, the risk with some non-proctored 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 a non-proctored test with a proctored version to confirm the results.

Which Should You Use?

Depending on what type of test you are administering, a non-proctored 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. 

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