What is ProctorU, how it works and makes money?

Company: ProctorU
Founders: Jarrod Morgan
Year founded: 2008
CEO: Scott McFarland
Headquarter: Birmingham, Alabama
Number of Employees (Dec 2018): 400+
Type: Private
Ticker Symbol: NYSE: UBER
Annual Revenue (Dec 2018): Est. $30M

Products & Services: Live and Automated Online Proctoring Services
Competitors: Examity | Proctorio | ExamSoft

Fun Facts

Did you know that Jarrod Morgan created ProctorU specifically for Andrew Jackson University before it became available to institutions worldwide?

About ProctorU

ProctorU is an online proctoring service that offers fully automated proctoring for online exams or a combination of a live proctor and AI. The company’s patented proctoring services are geared toward exams at educational institutions as well as certification exams for various professions.

Online proctoring is intended to allow exams taken online to still be proctored to ensure exam integrity, which significantly boosts the practicality of allowing online exams for universities and professional organizations.

As such, ProctorU improves access to online learning and allows greater convenience and flexibility for students. Additionally, the service is more effective than an in-person proctor, as in-person exams typically involve one proctor for a room full of test-takers. ProctorU’s one-on-one proctoring results in higher exam integrity and accountability.

How ProctorU works

ProctorU offers three different services, ranging from a fully automated proctoring service to a live professional proctor backed by AI:

  • Auto
  • Live+
  • Pro

Auto Services

In Auto, the proctoring service is fully automated (no live proctor is present during the exam). This service uses automated multi-factor identity verification and behavior flagging using AI. The exam is also recorded from beginning to end for later review.

Live+ Services

 For higher stakes exams, such as cumulative final exams for professional certification exams, where closer monitoring is required, ProctorU offers Live+ and Pro, which both entail a live, professionally trained proctor during the exam as well as AI support.

While a human is present to monitor and intervene when necessary, AI technology will still be able to catch things the live proctor might not.

Pro Services

 Pro is essentially a more premium version of the Live+ service, as it allows greater customizability, the most highly trained proctors available, and higher priority troubleshooting for technical issues.

In all three services, the test taker only needs a computer, internet access, a webcam, and a microphone in order to take the exam.

What ProctorU does

ProctorU’s live proctoring ensures online exam integrity by:

  1. Verifying the identity of the test taker, and;
  2. Ensuring that no prohibited activity takes place, such as using unauthorized materials or receiving help from another person in the room.

The test taker authenticates their identity before the exam begins by showing two different forms of photo ID to the webcam so that the live proctor/AI technology can verify that the right student is taking the test.  The test taker will also answer some questions to further verify their identity and enter a biometric keystroke signature.

Next, the test taker verifies that they are the only one in the room and that no unauthorized materials are present, by panning their webcam around the room. The test taker then has to show the proctor that there are no unauthorized materials attached to their monitor, either using their webcam (if external) or a reflective surface (if the webcam is internal).

During the exam, both the live proctor and AI technology will monitor the test taker to ensure that no prohibited behavior takes place, such as:

  • someone entering the room or
  • the test taker leaving the room or
  • going out of view of the webcam,
  • copying the exam content or
  • opening another tab on their browser

While the live proctor is trained to look for any of these instances, AI technology will be able to catch anything that goes unnoticed, as it is able to detect small changes like slight shadows, faint reflections, low sound levels, and even subtle eye movements.

The exam is also recorded from start to finish for the proctor to review afterward.

How ProctorU makes money

  • Tiered pricing for exams
  • Convenience fees
  • Investor funding

 ProctorU charges several fees to use its services, including a per-exam fee and convenience fees. Some institutions will pay the exam fees themselves and include the costs within students’ tuition, and some require students to pay for each exam themselves. (Generally, institutions make students pay any convenience fees.)

Exam fee

The cost of an exam proctored by ProctorU varies depending on the length of the exam. While the ProctorU website does not share its pricing, other sources like university websites have published a range of prices from about $8.75 to $30 per exam.

According to the University of Illinois, exams cost is as follows:

  • 30 minutes cost $8.50,
  • 1-hour exams cost $14.75,
  • 90 min to 2 hour-exams cost $21.50, and
  • 3-hour exams cost $30.25

It is not specified whether these prices are for the Live+ or Pro service, and these prices are only for the standard exam fee, without convenience fees.

Convenience fees

Additionally, ProctorU charges a $5 convenience fee when appointments are made less than 72 hours prior to the exam time and a $8.75 fee for appointments made less than 24 hours ahead of the exam time.

Investor funding

ProctorU also receives funding from Eastside Partners, although the amount of funds is unknown.

ProctorU’s success

While ProctorU’s profits are unknown, it is estimated that the company makes about $30 million in revenue each year. Apparently, the company’s revenue model is working them, as ProctorU has experienced substantial growth since its launch in 2008.

The company proctored over 100,000 exams in just one month in October 2016 and has now surpassed a total of 5.1 million exams. Additionally, the company now has six offices and over 400 employees worldwide and has partnered with over 1,300 institutions.

Conclusion

As online education becomes increasingly common in the U.S., online proctoring services will also continue to grow. ProctorU’s highly effective service and scalability suggest that the company will be at the forefront of that growth for years to come.

References & more information

  • Featured Image by lecroitg from Pixabay 
  • Crunchbase. (n.d.). ProctorU. Retrieved from Crunchbase: https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/proctoru#section-overview
  • Dimeo, J. (2017, May 10). Online Exam Proctoring Catches Cheaters, Raises Concerns. Retrieved from Inside Higher Ed: https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/article/2017/05/10/online-exam-proctoring-catches-cheaters-raises-concerns
  • Owler. (n.d.). ProctorU. Retrieved from Owler: https://www.owler.com/company/proctoru
  • ProctorU. (n.d.). Retrieved from ProctorU: https://www.proctoru.com/
  • ProctorU. (2018, October 23). ProctorU Celebrates its 10th Anniversary. Retrieved from ProctorU: https://www.proctoru.com/industry-news-and-notes/proctoru-celebrates-10th-anniversary
  • ProctorU. (2019, January 11). 2018 Integrity and Proctoring Stats – A ProctorU Infographic. Retrieved from ProctorU: https://www.proctoru.com/industry-news-and-notes/2018-integrity-and-proctoring-stats-a-proctoru-infographic
  • ProctorU. (2019, March 28). How Technology is Taking Education & Proctoring to New Heights. Retrieved from Online Learning Consortium: https://onlinelearningconsortium.org/how-technology-taking-education-proctoring-new-heights/
  • University of Illinois. (n.d.). ProctorU. Retrieved from University of Illinois: https://online.illinois.edu/proctoru
  • University of Louisiana at Lafayette. (2019, January 28). 4 Things to Know About ProctorU. Retrieved from University of Louisiana at Lafayette: https://online.louisiana.edu/blog/4-things-know-about-proctoru

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Ava Abbott

Ava Abbott

She is a data scientist and serial marketer, she brings a unique analytical perspective and extensive knowledge in marketing from her years of experience working for tech giants and starts ups.

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