Examity - Student experience accessibility & usability
This document summarizes the accessibility and usability barriers identified during in the student experience, potential workarounds for students, as well as ways for students to get assistance. This document also includes ways instructors can support the student online proctoring experience.
Examity is an online proctoring tool that integrates with the Canvas learning management system. Due to extraordinary demand, Examity is only able to offer the university auto-proctoring services and cannot offer a live proctoring option at this time. UW-Madison has evaluated Examity for accessibility and usability barriers that may impact student learning and the ability for instructors to offer online proctored exams.
Read the accessibility and usability barriers found in testing the student experience or learn about the accessibility and usability barriers found in the instructor experience (link coming soon). See also all Examity knowledgebase articles.
To get help with Examity, students can to go the Examity - Troubleshooting and Getting Support (Students) KB.
If instructors or students have questions regarding student accommodations, contact the student’s McBurney Center Access Consultant (the Access Consultant’s Name appears on the student’s Faculty Notification Letter). The Faculty Notification Letter identifies accommodations that are intended to minimize barriers and provide equal access for students without compromising the essential elements of a course. Letters will be emailed to instructors each semester.
Student accessibility & usability barriers
If provided sufficient instruction and flexibility, most students with disabilities will be able to navigate this student user experience in order to complete their test. However, while evaluating Examity, the following accessibility and usability barriers were identified which may cause students to experience confusion or disruption in their ability to use Examity.
Rules, navigation, and accommodation confusion when entering the exam
The Examity service does not lock down the student’s computer, limit the student’s ability to search the web, or make the student aware when they are violating the testing rules. Exam rules may be accidentally violated by a student using assistive technologies due to the access that is available and the way assistive technologies navigate the web.
Likewise, modern online experiences typically do not allow the user access to things they are not supposed to be interacting with. As a result, we anticipate some false positives with this web application because students may accidentally click on something they aren't supposed to or accidentally typo a keyboard shortcut that causes something to open as they are typing.
Additionally, Examity does not allow instructors to exempt an individual student from the standard rule settings for an exam, even if those settings contradict a student’s accommodations. The Examity app provides students with a statement of the testing rules at the beginning of the exam. This agreement language may be alarming for some students and may contradict common individual accommodations already set up between the student, the instructor, and the McBurney Disability Resource Office.
In short, any amount of difficulty with entering the proctoring session might cause the student to pause their attempt and contact the instructor to ensure they are proceeding appropriately. This is typical behavior for students depending on the confidence the student may have with technology, the ambiguous nature of nothing being locked down in Examity, and the context of operating in high stakes, high-stress testing situations.
Instructors need to be sure to clearly communicate with their students regarding exam rules, navigational limitations and expectations, as well as any accommodations that are agreed upon via email as well as using Examity’s accommodation notes and custom instruction upload.
Instructors are encouraged to make sure pre-existing student accommodations are reflected in exam settings prior to the student’s exam time.
Instructors are encouraged to check in with their students in case new accommodation needs arise as a result of the shift to online learning and testing.
Conversely, students need to be sure they are aware of the testing rules for their particular exam before beginning their proctoring session. We advise students with special circumstances or accommodations to be sure they have this information in writing prior to taking their test.
We also recommend that students give themselves grace regarding potential mistakes and persevere through the proctoring session startup and to their exam.
We also recommend that instructors use the proctoring exam results as a reference rather than as results that are taken without consideration. Instructors can keep in mind that while artificial intelligence is logically identifying potential academic integrity errors, human behavior is more nuanced and we recommend that instructors review results with that in mind.
Extended time accommodation confusion
The most common accessibility accommodation offered to students with disabilities at this university is an increased time extension on the amount of time the student has to complete a test.
The Examity app scheduling experience (seen by the student) shows the general timeframe all students in the course have, rather than their unique time extension. to complete the test rather than the unique time extension set by the instructor in Canvas. However, the Examity online proctoring instance will not close too early or end unexpectedly if the Canvas quiz time is extended past the advertised time loaded in Examity.
Students can trust the time extension they have in Canvas for their exams. Examity will not end abruptly or close unexpectedly before that quiz time is over. The window remains open until the student closes it.
Instructors can rely on the Canvas quiz time to govern how long the student is allowed to have to complete the exam.
Instructors can communicate via email with the student to ensure they are aware of how much time they have to take the exam and ensure them that while Examity may show an abbreviated timeframe, they will be free to complete their exam without disruption.
Student ID scanning difficulties
Students navigating the ID scanning portion of entering a proctored exam session may experience confusion or difficulty.
The terminology used to refer to their student ID is “government-issued photo ID.” Most students would consider their government-issued photo ID to refer to a Driver’s License or passport. This could lead to confusion, anxiety, or disruption if students interpret this as a barrier to entering their test session.
Tasks requiring holding an object like a Photo ID up to a camera can be a challenge for people with motor disabilities, low vision, or blindness. There is also no auditory feedback to let a screen reader user know they are successful in completing this task.
Instructors should be aware that the student may lose confidence in moving forward with the exam if they believe they are incapable of completing this task, even though the system does not stop the student from moving forward.
Students should be aware that the system will not prevent you from moving forward and you should continue to complete your exam session.
Instructors are encouraged to allow students who are having difficulties completing this task to take or upload a photo of themselves instead of holding up the ID if doing so is physically difficult or impossible.
Instructors are encouraged to remind students that Examity is referring to their Student ID in this instance rather than their license or passport. These details can also be added to custom instructions uploaded to the exam.
Students with low vision may need to use magnification software or magnify the text on their screen to read the online proctoring interface. However, Examity doesn’t magnify well beyond 200% magnification. This may cause students with low vision to have difficulty using this online proctoring tool.
We recommend instructors offer students who are unable to read the Examity content in magnification a separate unproctored Canvas quiz and refrain from using the Examity online proctoring tool at this time.
Examity student exam link email confusion
Our UW-Madison instance of Examity requires that student test-takers are loaded into Examity using an overnight batch process that loads after the Examity app is added to a course module.
If an instructor accidentally adds the student manually in Examity, this disrupts the sending of the automated email to the student which has the student’s Examity online proctoring instance link.
Students and instructors can contact Examity for technical assistance via live online chat, email, or calling Examity at 800-855-EXAMITY for assistance in correcting this barrier.
Examity customer support confusion
Prior to or during the exam, if students experience technical difficulties, they are encouraged to contact Examity for technical assistance via live online chat, email, or calling Examity at 800-855-EXAMITY.
However, if students are experiencing difficulties with their accommodation, an assistive technology functioning properly in Examity, or other accessibility-related concerns they may be delayed in completing their exam if support needs are directed inaccurately or otherwise delayed.
We encourage students to communicate difficulties to their instructor early in order to alert them and resolve possible confusion while minimizing the negative impact on the student’s exam time or progress.
We encourage instructors to communicate with their students, prior to the exam, regarding possible accommodations and how to contact their instructor as well as the McBurney Disability Resource Center for assistance should the need arise.
JAWS screen reader computer performance impactDuring testing we discovered that there are some operating system delays for some machines while JAWS screen reader software is running with Examity on Chrome or Firefox browsers. For this reason, Examity may not be optimal for JAWS screen reader users to complete an online proctored exam and would recommend an alternative Canvas unproctored exam accommodation for these scenarios.
Instructors can evaluate their course and exam content for accessibility to be sure that students with disabilities can navigate and use it. For assistance evaluating course content for accessibility, contact DoIT Academic Technology at (608) 262-5667 to be connected with an Accessibility Consultant.