Press Release

CAE Case Study Shows No Difference in Performance Task Scores with Remote Proctoring

Nonprofit assessment provider investigates impact of different proctoring approaches on students’ scores, effort and engagement


Council for Aid to Education, Inc., (CAE), a nonprofit developer of performance-based and custom assessments that authentically measure students’ essential college and career readiness skills, recently presented its findings, “The Role and Effect of Remote Proctoring on Assessment in Higher Education”, at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the world’s largest gathering of education researchers. The study showed no statistically significant differences in performance task scores between students who took the assessments in-person versus those who completed their assessments remotely.

Authored by Doris Zahner, chief academic officer and Olivia Cortellini, senior reporting and data analyst, CAE’s research measured the use of remote and in-person proctoring on a performance-based critical thinking assessment for college students. Zahner and Cortellini examined whether remote proctoring – which has been on the rise due to the pandemic – had an impact on overall performance as well as how students rated their effort and engagement.

CAE compared approximately 700 students from two groups of entering freshman (fall 2019 versus fall 2020) from six higher education institutions. The Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA+), a performance-based assessment of critical thinking, problem solving and effective written communication, consists of a 60-minute Performance Task (PT) and a 30-minute section of Selected-Response Questions (SRQs). CLA+ was administered to both groups of students using either in-person (fall 2019) or remote (fall 2020) proctoring.

“As remote learning has become increasingly prevalent for colleges and universities, it is important to consider the implications that remote proctoring will have for students’ performance on online assessments,” said Cortellini. “The results of our study showed that remote proctoring is an effective approach for administering performance-based assessments. Additionally, we found that remote proctoring did not impact students’ self-reported levels of effort or engagement for performance-based assessments.”

Based on their findings, CAE recommends that students taking the CLA+ or the College and Career Readiness Assessment (CCRA+) do so in a remote-proctored setting if institutions do not feel comfortable convening students for in-person administration of the assessments.

“In spring 2020, CAE introduced remote proctoring as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Cortellini. “The number of institutions that will remain remote in fall 2021 is unknown. Due to the continued uncertainty, CAE offers many options to help educational institutions use the CLA+ and CCRA+.”

About CAE
A nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve student outcomes, CAE develops performance-based and custom assessments that authentically measure students’ essential college and career readiness skills and identify opportunities for student growth. CAE’s Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA+) for higher education and College and Career Readiness Assessment (CCRA+) for secondary education evaluate the skills educational institutions and employers demand most: critical thinking, problem solving and effective written communication. Based on CAE’s research, these skills are predictive of positive college and career outcomes. CAE also partners with its clients to design innovative performance assessments that measure the constructs vital to students, educators, and institutions, including subject area and grade specific assessments. Since 2002, more than 800,000 students at over 1,300 secondary and higher education institutions globally have completed CAE’s assessments. To learn more, please visit

As remote learning has become increasingly prevalent for colleges and universities, it is important to consider the implications that remote proctoring will have for students’ performance on online assessments. ~Olivia Cortellini, Senior Reporting and Data Analyst, CAE