Proctoring comes in a variety of ways, but it can be most commonly divided into traditional, ‘on-the-ground’ proctoring and online proctoring. Their differences coincide with the way their respective exams take place, as do their advantages. And these distinctions are immense.

Traditional and online proctoring want to achieve the same goal and each has its own way of supervising students. So, how could you compare them?

About Online Proctoring

Online proctoring is a technology-driven approach to monitor and supervise candidates during online assessments. Its primary purpose is to ensure the integrity of exams by deterring and detecting cheating behaviors, maintaining fairness, and upholding the credibility of assessment outcomes in remote and online learning environments.

Various Online Proctoring Methods

Online proctoring encompasses a range of methods designed to monitor candidates during digital assessments:

  • Live Online Proctoring. Involves real-time monitoring by human proctors through video streaming. Proctors intervene if irregularities are observed, providing immediate assistance and support to candidates.
  • Automated Online Proctoring. Relies on AI-driven algorithms to analyze behavior and detect cheating behaviors in real time. This method is efficient for large-scale assessments and ensures consistent monitoring.
  • Recorded Proctoring. Captures exam sessions for later review. Proctors or administrators analyze recordings if suspicious behavior is flagged, balancing privacy concerns and exam security.
  • Remote Webcam Proctoring. Utilizes candidates’ webcams to analyze behavior, gaze patterns, and screen activities. AI algorithms detect potential cheating behaviors, offering a non-intrusive monitoring solution.
  • Hybrid Proctoring. Combines multiple methods for enhanced security and flexibility. For instance, automated proctoring might be used for routine assessments, while live proctoring is reserved for high-stakes exams.

These methods cater to different assessment needs, privacy considerations, and educational contexts, offering a versatile approach to maintaining exam integrity in the digital era.

About Traditional Proctoring

Traditional proctoring involves the presence of human supervisors, known as proctors, during in-person assessments. The primary role of traditional proctoring is to ensure the integrity of exams by preventing cheating, verifying candidates’ identities, and maintaining a controlled environment to uphold the credibility of assessment outcomes.

Traditional Proctoring Methods 

Historically, traditional proctoring relied on the physical presence of proctors in exam halls to oversee candidates. Proctors ensured that candidates followed exam rules, refrained from cheating, and maintained a quiet and controlled environment. Over time, traditional proctoring methods evolved to include the use of printed materials, seating arrangements, and now, various observation technologies.

Online Proctoring vs. Traditional Proctoring

Both types can be readily compared in several important aspects. Following this matchup, you can decide whether you want to find an online proctor service or go classic.

Exam Security and Integrity

Online Proctoring: Online proctoring technology offers advanced features like real-time monitoring and AI-driven behavior analysis. These elements enhance exam security by promptly detecting and deterring cheating behaviors, ensuring that the assessment accurately reflects candidates’ knowledge and skills.

Traditional Proctoring: Traditional proctoring relies on human oversight to maintain exam integrity. However, it may have limitations in detecting subtle forms of cheating, and its effectiveness can vary based on the proctors’ vigilance and experience.

Accessibility and Flexibility

Online Proctoring: Online proctoring provides flexibility for candidates to take exams from different locations, catering to remote and diverse learning environments. This accessibility benefits candidates with varying schedules and geographical constraints.

Traditional Proctoring: Traditional proctoring requires candidates to physically gather at specific exam venues, limiting accessibility for remote or differently-abled individuals.

Student Comfort and Convenience

Online Proctoring: Online proctoring respects candidates’ personal spaces and comfort zones, allowing them to take exams in familiar environments. This can reduce test anxiety and improve overall exam performance.

Traditional Proctoring: Traditional proctoring involves unfamiliar exam settings, which might elevate stress levels for some candidates. Exam-induced stress is a genuine problem, and Mentally Healthy Schools explain it well.

Personal Interaction and Support

Online Proctoring: While online proctoring lacks immediate physical presence, live online proctoring methods enable candidates to interact with human proctors for assistance and clarification during the exam.

Traditional Proctoring: Traditional proctoring offers immediate human interaction, allowing candidates to seek clarification and support from proctors on the spot.

Privacy and Ethical Considerations

Online Proctoring: Online proctoring raises privacy concerns due to webcam surveillance and data collection. Institutions need to be transparent about data usage and ensure candidates’ privacy rights are respected.

Traditional Proctoring: Traditional proctoring also requires candidates to submit to personal searches and may infringe on privacy to a certain extent.

Making the Choice 

Consider these factors while making the choice between regular proctoring and remote proctoring:

  • Nature of Assessments and Stakeholder Feedback. The type and stakes of assessments, along with input from students and faculty, guide the selection of proctoring methods.
  • Institutional Resources and Technological Readiness. Budget and infrastructure influence whether institutions can implement and sustain online or traditional proctoring methods. Tech nowadays can influence exams immensely, but you need to be ready for it, according to India Today.
  • Student Preferences and Learning Environments. Student comfort, preferences for remote or in-person exams, and the institution’s remote learning policies impact the chosen approach.
  • Legal and Regulatory Compliance. Adherence to data privacy and security regulations is vital in selecting a proctoring method that meets legal and ethical standards.
  • Long-Term Sustainability and Scalability. Consideration of the chosen approach’s long-term viability, adaptability, and scalability ensures a lasting solution for assessments.

There’s a lot to consider, but both options are good in their own right.


Online proctoring seems a more practical and effective approach at the moment, seeing how many useful features modern proctoring apps can offer. However, you shouldn’t think that traditional proctoring is an outdated approach. It’s an old, reliable method that can also be complemented by modern tech.

Richard is an experienced tech journalist and blogger who is passionate about new and emerging technologies. He provides insightful and engaging content for Connection Cafe and is committed to staying up-to-date on the latest trends and developments.