Software Provider Quietly Terminates Contract With Rutgers

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Rutgers had contracts with three separate online exam-proctoring companies before one of them, Examity, cut ties with the university in October 2015. 

Based in Needham, Massachusetts, Examity was founded in 2012.

Rutgers first became one of their clients in November 2013, and signed another one-year contract on December 1o, 2014.

The agreement between the two parties governed the school's use of the company's "Examity system," which like Verificient Technologies' ProctorTrack software, offers exam proctoring services for online classes.

Officials cited both Examity and ExamGuard as alternatives to the ProctorTrack software after students expressed concerns over the invasiveness of ProctorTrack. 

Unlike ProctorTrack, the Examity system allows for the university and its classes to request four different levels of services:

  • Level 0 services consist of authentication only
  • Level 1 services consist of authentication, a recording of all tests and a review of a random sample of tests.
  • Level 2 services feature authentication and a recording and review of all tests.
  • Level 3 services feature live proctoring and authentication. 

The completed exam, proctoring, and auditing results will be provided to the professor within 72 hours of its completion, according to the agreement.

"Along with such results, Examity shall provide a report listing any student behavior, actions or inactions, which Examity determines, in its sole discretion, could or may constitute dishonesty with respect to the applicable examination."

The software requires that a student have a microphone and webcam.

Students were originally required to pay $7 per exam for Level 0 services and $14 per exam for Level 3 services, assuming the exam would last one hour or less.  The rate for additional hours was set at $5 per student. 

But then on March 26, both parties signed an addendum, raising the fees to $15 per student per one-hour exam, and $7 for each additional hour.

It is unclear on how many students used the Examity system, which academic departments offered it, and whether students had the option for alternate proctoring methods such as in-person exam proctoring.

Rutgers officials also refused to answer questions on why the agreement with Examity was terminated.

Examity CEO Michael London dodged questions about the termination of the contract.

"We think [Rutgers] were fine to work with," London said, "We’ve just been prioritizing our clients a bit differently. We have some clients that are better fit for us than others."

When pressed over the fact that he signed the statement signifying a termination, London claimed he did not recall doing so.

"I probably signed the contract and sure it may have come from me but that doesn’t really mean it came from me."

The termination came less than a month after local and national media outlets pressured Verficient Technologies into addressing concerns over how long they would retain student data obtained via their ProctorTrack software.

As we reported, ProctorTrack uses remote-monitoring technology to collect audio and video of students while they take an exam.  The software also documents the web activity of students, takes a voice sample, and scans their ID, face, and knuckles.

ProctorTrack was hastily introduced to Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts' online classes at the beginning of the Spring 2015 semester.

The technology had only received a patent from the federal government on January 6, just weeks before the software was rolled out to thousands of students, with no written contract in place.

According to Rutgers officials, a "verbal agreement" existed between Rutgers and Verificient.

During the seven months under the verbal agreement, confusion, and miscommunication arose over the price of the software how long the private company would retain student's personal data. 

Students using the software were also angry over the $32 fee to use software and the perceived lack of notification, which resulted in many students finding out about the new software after it was too late to drop their course. 

Other universities that currently or previously used the Examity system include the University of Illinois Springfield, Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, Auburn University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing. 

Reporter at New Brunswick Today

Award-winning, multimedia journalist with experience in digital first and print-media. Daniel has covered local, state and regional issues, and utilized photography, social media and has written in-depth articles to produce high-quality work.