In a viral TikTok video, a college student showed an unseen way that academic artificial intelligence, produced by companies like ProctorU, can damage lives.
A TikTok user, @_.daynuh._, released a tearful video where she explains that she’s just taken “a difficult exam,” for which she initially received a B grade. However, she explains that her professor gave her a zero because the “Review+” software built by ProctorU showed her mouthing one of the questions in its video recording. (It’s unclear where she studies.)
“I was just re-reading the question, so I could better understand it,” she says.
AI (artificial intelligence) proctor software, produced by companies like ProctorU, has been increasingly put under the microscope for data privacy and security issues. Proctoring software use has grown considerably, as the COVID-19 pandemic pushes schools and universities to transition more quickly to remote/online learning. In a Vice report, it found that “proctoring companies cite studies estimating that between 50 and 70 percent of college students will attempt some form of cheating, and warn that cheating will be rampant if students are left unmonitored in their own homes.”
However, some believe the cheating problem is less of an issue than the ever-compounding argument over privacy. In this case, the result from the software was used as both a crutch and a hammer by the professor—an unseen consequence in using A.I. as the ultimate adjudicator.
In a subsequent video, she says she contacted the dean of students for assistance. She also reached ProctorU for a video of her exam, which she used as evidence to have her grade overturned, along with her other assignments showing her initial B grade ran in line with her previous work.
The dean agreed that there was like no wrongdoing, but presented a caveat: She would likely have to retake the test.
“I was like, ‘OK,’ [and] I’m willing to do it, but I really don’t want to,” the student said.
In an immediate second part of the follow-up, she said she would be willing to retake the exam in person. So, she said, the dean brought evidence to the class professor. However, they soon discovered that the class professor, who had not reviewed the evidence, already put an infraction on the student’s scholarships.
“So she had already sent out an academic infraction out before we had even investigated it,” she revealed. “If I have an academic infraction, I lose my scholarships.”
During part three of the follow-up, she says the professor had told them she had caught others cheating.
“I get that you were probably upset about it; you had a bad day. But if you would have just reviewed the evidence and watched the video of me taking the exam, looked at my previous assignments…there’s really nothing else I can do [other than] come in and retake [the exam],” she said.
The professor apologized and reverted her grade to the originally earned B. The student was told that the academic infraction would be removed from her record in 2-3 days.
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