ExamSoft’s proctoring software application has a face-detection problem
Gabe Teninbaum, a teacher at Suffolk University Law School, is calling on ExamSoft to fix a major bug with its test-taking software application: failure to recognize faces. It’s a problem that can delay test takers– or disallow them from starting their exams altogether– and per reports, it disproportionately impacts people with dark skin tones.
ExamSoft’s software records students while they finish remote tests and monitors for indications of scholastic dishonesty. Teninbaum’s report addresses an ExamSoft feature called ExamID, which aims to confirm that test-takers are who they say they are. The very first time a student logs into their examination website, they submit an image of themselves (their “standard image”); they’re then triggered to take another selfie before beginning future examinations, which the software checks against their original image.
Research has found that facial-recognition algorithms consistently make more errors in identifying Black faces than they do white ones. And while those research studies didn’t focus on ExamSoft specifically, it does not appear to be an exception. Back in September, multiple non-white exam-takers told the New York Times that the software could not determine them due to “bad lighting”– an issue that Teninbaum, who has light skin, wasn’t able to duplicate.
The @ExamSoft software application can’t “acknowledge” me due to “poor lighting” despite the fact that I’m sitting in a well lit space. Starting to believe it has absolutely nothing to do with lighting. Pretty sure all of us anticipated their facial recognition software application wouldn’t work for individuals of color. @DiplomaPriv4All
— Alivardi Khan (@uhreeb) September 8, 2020
@ExamSoft I LASTLY determined ON MY OWN 4 hours later on (still on hold for a TEST SOFT chat associate) HOW TO GET TO MY MOCK EXAM … ONLY TO BE TOLD THE SYSTEM CANT RECOGNIZE ME. I AM IN A BOARD SPACE WITH ALL OF THE LIGHTS TURNED ON AND THE SUN WAS STILL UP. MAKE IT MAKE SENSE. pic.twitter.com/7K3yKT1y4n
— Futureesq1990(@futureesq1990) September 17, 2020
Early this fall, Teninbaum set out to discover a repair. He believes such errors add undue stress to an already demanding time period. “These are trainees who will take a high-stakes examination with a lot on the line, which is really unwanted,” Teninbaum said in an interview with The Brink.
” At any time you go into a test you just wish to focus on the test,” he included. “You don’t wish to seem like you have these added difficulties.”
Teninbaum also thinks that optics matter; schools owe it to marginalized trainees not to depend on a category of software application that’s understood to be prejudiced. “Students are worthy of to feel that their institution is doing what it can to safeguard their rights, interests, and self-respect,” he says.
In his report, which is forthcoming in The Journal of Robotics, Expert System, and Law, Teninbaum describes the workaround he found.
He recommends that schools designate every student a similar generic, baseline image. Then, he proposes, they should ask ExamSoft to make it possible for “delayed recognition,” a feature developed into the software that permits students to continue with examinations even if recognition fails. This feature is essentially hidden– it’s not mentioned anywhere on ExamSoft’s site (a minimum of, not that I might discover). Just ExamSoft can turn it on.
In tandem, these tweaks will cause ExamSoft to misidentify every test-taker. However they’ll still be able to continue with their examinations– ExamSoft will send the selfies to the school later on, and instructors can manually validate everybody. “We know who our students are,” Teninbaum states. “We can make certain the students are who they say they are and prevent subjecting students to these sorts of challenges.”
He likewise recommends that ExamSoft make the “deferred recognition” feature accessible to clients. “The reporter advises ExamSoft to develop this into a function by which institutions can merely toggle on/off, thus bypassing ExamID until such time that the innovation matures into one that does not discriminate,” his report checks out.
Teninbaum hopes those modifications will last beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, and can assist trainees feel more comfortable taking remote classes. “It’s going to be a growing problem as people get increasingly more online for their education,” he states.
Even so, he’s just fixed part of the issue. Trainees have experienced a range of missteps with ExamSoft’s proctoring software. Over 3,000 people who used the platform to take California’s bar examination in October had their videos flagged for potential rule violations– almost 36 percent of applicants who took the online examination. Users reported audio concerns, and other technical problems too.
A group of 6 US senators– including Richard Blumenthal, Elizabeth Warren, and Corey Booker– wrote an open letter to ExamSoft in December, highlighting possible harms to trainees of color and trainees with impairments, amongst many other issues.
ExamSoft did not instantly react to a request for comment.
( the headline, this story has not been published by Important India News staff and is published from a syndicated feed.).