Doris Zahner, PhD
Chief Academic Officer

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, most educational institutions have moved to a remote model of teaching, learning, and assessing for the Spring 2020 semester. At this point, the number of institutions that will remain remote in Fall 2020 is unknown. Given the current state of uncertainty, CAE has reviewed many options to help guide your use of CLA+ and CWRA+ in the Fall.

Remote Proctoring
We recommend that students taking the CLA+ or CWRA+ do so under a proctored setting. Proctored testing is industry best practice, particularly for summative assessments. Proctoring ensures that testing is as standardized as possible, meaning that each student’s testing experience is as similar to others as is feasible. Remote proctoring also decreases incidents of cheating.

Remote proctoring can be accomplished in two ways:

  • Use a third-party vendor (e.g., ProctorU) that will proctor the assessments for you. ProctorU’s team of proctors will monitor students taking the assessment without any additional proctoring needs from your institution. Using this approach will ensure high test security and standardization but you will incur additional fees.
  • Use a third-party collaboration software application (e.g., Zoom and WebEx) that works with CAE’s secure testing software. This option allows a proctor to monitor students taking the assessment via the cameras embedded on students’ devices, with assurance that their testing devices are locked down. While there is no cost for this option, you will need to set up the collaboration application (minimal effort) and proctor the students yourself.

Research on the use of remote proctoring and students’ experiences with test taking have found that although the test takers have a more negative reaction to remote proctoring, there were decreased incidents of cheating compared to unproctored tests, and no effect on students’ test performance (Karim, Kaminsky, & Bahrend,

Secure Browser
If in-person or remote proctoring is not possible, you can opt to administer CLA+ or CWRA+ through a secure browser. Research has indicated that assessments that are administered in proctored and unproctored settings have similar validities (Beaty, Nye, Borneman, Kantrowitz, Drasgow, & Grauer, 2011).

In general, unproctored testing with CLA+ and CWRA+ can be useful in the following scenarios:

  • Formative assessment: educators are looking to provide individual students with feedback on their areas of strength and improvement
  • Baseline or benchmarking: educators and administrators want to know the level of students’ skills at a certain point in time such as the beginning of the school year

In these scenarios, a proctored testing environment, although best practice, is not essential. Given the design of CLA+ and CWRA+, where there is no single correct answer to the assessment, students will not be able to cheat as easily as on typical multiple-choice tests.

We are working with our clients to put together testing plans that make sense for individual institutions. Additionally, we are working on assessments that may help you measure students’ learning gaps given classroom interruptions and implementation of remote learning that has occurred for much of the Spring 2020 semester. We will soon release another point of view on the best ways to conduct formative and summative assessments for the upcoming Fall academic semester.

Please reach out to us at [email protected] with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your testing.


Beaty, J. C., Nye, C. D., Borneman, M. J., Kantrowitz, T. M., Drasgow, F., & Grauer, E. (2011). Proctored Versus Unproctored Internet Tests: Are unproctored noncognitive tests as predictive of job performance?. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 19(1), 1-10.

Karim, M. N., Kaminsky, S. E., & Behrend, T. S. (2014). Cheating, reactions, and performance in remotely proctored testing: An exploratory experimental study. Journal of Business and Psychology, 29(4), 555–572.