Q&A Online tests for students

Online tests

Taking tests in our NHL Stenden buildings is only possible to a limited extent. For this reason, we will make use of a digital alternative for most of the tests. Several online test applications such as Blackboard, Quayn, Möbius and ANS will be used. Knowledge tests will mainly be taken using the mentioned test applications. Assignments, presentations, assessments, and oral exams will take place on Blackboard, Teams or a different application. How tests are taken differs for each Bachelor, Associate Degree and Master degree programme. You will receive more information about this from your study programme and the Exam Logistics department.
We use ProctorExamfor all knowledge tests. This online proctoring program provides remote invigilation (proctoring).  

Why and how we use ProctorExam to invigilate online exams
The coronavirus pandemic created a situation in which exams suddenly needed to be taken online and that development has brought with it a number of challenges for us all. NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences takes the view that online examinations must take place in a fair and appropriate manner. In order to achieve that, we are making use of ProctorExam as a means of invigilating exams taken online. Occasionally, we receive questions about the steps that we’re taking to ensure that students’ privacy is safeguarded. In this document, we are pleased to have the opportunity to explain how we reached the decision to make use of this method of invigilating online exams and how your individual data will be processed.

Invigilation using ProctorExam prevents fraud
Whenever you take an exam online, you will come into contact with ProctorExam. ProctorExam is the computer software that checks whether you’re completing the exam according to the rules and regulations and whether you are actually the person who is sitting at the computer. It does this by means of video recordings and access to your screen. You might say that allowing us access to your personal environment is quite a radical step. That is something we are extremely aware of and it was not a decision we reached lightly. We decided to use this system as it is the only way of combatting fraud and of making sure we are able to fulfil our statutory obligation to uphold the quality of our teaching and assessment.

High-quality education, including online
In order to safeguard the quality of our teaching and assessment, online invigilation is both a logical and inevitable step. We actually commissioned a Data Protection Impact Assessment. This answered the question as to whether we could carry out online invigilation safely and responsibly and it was found that we can. We are aware that online invigilation is different to physical invigilation. Throughout the exam, we will be able to see what you are doing and we will also be able to view your personal environment. In our view, we believe that it’s actually in your interest that we have a means of conducting exams online.

Keeping infringements on your privacy to a minimum
While we make use of the software from ProctorExam as a means of providing online invigilation during exams, we have put in place a variety of measures to keep infringements on your privacy to a minimum. First and foremost, only staff and third parties authorised by your study programme will have access to the images. We have also entered into strict agreements with ProctorExam with regard to how the images will be processed and those agreements have been laid down in the Processing Agreement. In addition, the images will not be stored any longer than necessary. On a practical level, this means that in most cases, the images will be deleted once the examination results have been determined by the Examination Committee. If an appeal procedure takes place, the images will be stored for longer, but never for more than 12 months. There’s also something you can do – by using a privacy-friendly envelope around your passport or proof of identity, you can make sure that details such as your BSN number and possibly your passport photograph cannot be seen.

Right to object
Online invigilation and the use of ProctorExam is taking place without your explicit consent, due to the fact that online invigilation is a form of surveillance by camera. Surveillance by camera is required to fulfil stringent conditions, but no consent is required. You do of course have a right to object against online invigilation of this type, due to the fact that our use of this system relies upon what is known as our “legitimate interest”. You can read our full argumentation, together with the relevant articles from the legislation in the document entitled “Belangenafweging online surveillance.pdf”.

If you believe that your circumstances form grounds to object against the processing of your data, you can submit your objection by email to privacyrechten@nhlstenden.com.

It is important to know that an objection will not automatically be upheld. An objection must relate to circumstances that are specific and important. Objections on general and fundamental grounds will not be sufficient.

If you have any further questions regarding privacy, please contact us via fg@nhlstenden.com

Please see the following to find out more about how we implement the GDPR:

Why/Reason for proctoring with two cameras?
NHL Stenden aims at approaching similar test conditions for online test taking to testing on location (in the school building). With the use of a second camera invigilators can monitor what happens behind your laptop/desktop and on your desk during the test, similar to taking a test on location. This way the test conditions of a “physical” test are reproduced as much as possible. This is important to guarantee the same quality level regarding test taking. A clear view on your desk and screen and the use of your laptop camera will enable the invigilators and exam committees to assess possible cases of fraud, bad luck or simple failure of equipment more accurately and objectively. The use of two cameras is also valuable when one of your cameras fails, due to e.g. technical problems on your laptop of phone. Furthermore, you are also better protected from a limited or wrong interpretation of the recordings. This way we are assured your performance is properly valued. 

Why/Reason for implementing second camera now?
Due to a number of technical problems the implementation of the second camera was delayed. These obstacles have now been overcome, which means the second camera can be used to guarantee the security, reliability and quality of test taking.  

What data on my devices does ProctorExam store?ProctorExam does not store or save data from your devices.  During test taking only video will be recorded. ProctorExam does not use artificial intelligence; proctoring is performed by reviewers (invigilators). This is documented in the Processing agreement with the supplier. After finishing your test you can delete the ProctorExam software.

What happens with my video recordings?All video recordings made during tests will be viewed by people, the so-called invigilators. Artificial intelligence is not used. When the recordings have been analysed by the invigilators of ProctorExam,  NHL Stenden receives an overview of the students that took part and the incidents that were observed for each test that was taken. NHL Stenden trained and appointed  invigilators subsequently review the recordings of the test sessions and compile an official report, just like they would for tests taken on location. The report contains observations exam committee would care to look into. Each official report is shared with the exam committee of that particular study programme. The exam committee can also review the video recordings. The exam committee can ultimately make a decision to declare the test of an individual student or a group of students invalid. They are also entitled to take additional measures if fraud has been detected when reviewing the video recordings.

How long will the recordings be stored and by whom?
NHL Stenden is the data controller, so they have access to the recordings. The recordings will only be used to review the test and will not be shared with third parties. The recordings will not be kept any longer than necessary. After test taking the examiner has three weeks to announce the results. Following that there is a period for you as a student to lodge an appeal if you disagree with your test result. When no appeals are lodged, the results are final, and recordings will be destroyed.

Guides and manuals to prepare for the tests
The guides and manuals below can be used to prepare yourself for the tests that you are going to take online.

Important: you need the latest version of Chrome (web browser) to be able to use ProctorExam! Download the latest version here: https://www.google.com/intl/nl/chrome/


How does Online Proctoring work?
Are you going to take a test online? Read the information below that explains how it works and how to prepare.

  • You will receive an invitation in English from ProctorExam by email which will help you to prepare your computer for the test.  This includes a system check of your webcam, sound, WiFi, screen and the installation of Chrome if necessary. Do this check in the room you are going to take your test in and on the device you are going to take it.Do this at least 1 working day prior to your test. If there are any technical issues, there will be enough time to solve them. Important: you will receive a unique link for each test, and you have to do this system check for every single test.
  • We would like you to be ready and seated at your computer at least 15 minutes before the start of the test. Your workspace needs to be arranged in the same way as a desk would be at an exam location. Make sure there are no objects on or around your desk, no visitors in the room and no earplugs/headphones. Have passport or ID ready.
  • It is possible to ask questions via the chat box. The link to this chat can be found in the bottom right corner of your screen. You cannot ask questions regarding the content of the test.
  • Video and sound recordings allow us to decide if the test has been taken in accordance with regulations. This review is performed by invigilators who analyse the recordings after the test has taken place.
  • When the test results have been determined and the appeal period has expired, all recordings will be deleted for your privacy.

Digital Surveillance Proctorexam (pdf)


What kind of device can I use for the online test?

You can use a computer or laptop. You also need an internet connection, browser, webcam and microphone on the PC or laptop. If you don't have a microphone, you can use earphones / headphones. You then attach the microphone to the clothing and hang the earphones / headphones around the neck.


How do I enter the assessment application?
You will receive an instruction, including log-on details, via email.

Will Apple users also be able to use the test applications Blackboard, Quayn, Möbius and Teams ANS?
Yes, however experience has shown that more problems arise when using Apple products.


My network is not working properly or the test stops halfway, now what?
Should this happen during a test, the test application will save the data and you can continue when the connection has been re-established If your network connection cannot be re-established, please contact the exam committee of your study programme to discuss possible solutions.

A few days before you take the test, you will receive an email asking you to perform a system check. With the system check your network connection is tested. It is your responsibility to make sure that you have a proper internet connection.

Can’t I just take the test in school if I do not have the proper equipment to take it at home?
There is no possibility to take the test at school.

Can I register late( r) for the tests?
You can apply for a late registration with the exam committee of your study programme within 48 hours after the deadline for registering for the tests has passed. The exam committee will decide whether the late registration will permitted. After the 48 hours following the registration deadline, late registrations will not be considered at all.

How will I know when my test will take place?
You will be informed through the usual channels.

Is this way of taking tests allowed under privacy rules and regulations?
All means of digital assessment have been established in close cooperation with our General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) employees, so that our students’ privacy is guaranteed. Online proctoring is done on the basis of a legitimate interest of NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences (art 6.1 under f GDPR), just like when a presentation is recorded.

How will my privacy be protected with the use of ProctorExam?
When proctoring via ProctorExam, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is taken into account. Because personal data are processed during online proctoring, you will receive a notification thereof before the start of the test. This notification explains which personal data are processed and how this is done. Below, we will elaborate on a number of other ways that your privacy is being taken into consideration.

Regarding your privacy, we adhere to two important principles of the GDPR: data minimisation and data retention. Data minimisation means that the recordings are only used by authorised persons and only for proctoring the test. Data retention means that we observe the indicated retention period of the recordings and that this data retention is done safely. In this case, we observe the retention period as prescribed by the data registers, which are adjusted to the status of the recordings and the Universities of Applied Sciences Selection List.

Furthermore, NHL Stenden and ProctorExam have entered into a processing agreement. In this agreement, NHL Stenden Hogeschool and ProctorExam agree that they will diligently handle processed data. It also includes that the parties observe all applicable rules and regulations, including, but not limited to, the GDPR.

Also, a so-called Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) has been performed. This is a privacy effect assessment instrument which discloses any privacy risks in a structured and clear way. This PIA is also performed, among other things, before any processing of personal data in view of research, projects, processes and applications.

What will happen if Irefuse to allow proctoring?
It isnot possible to legitimately refuse proctoring for the tests you wish to participate in, as NHL Stenden adheres to up-to-date GDPR rules and regulations in the application of online proctoring.

Recordings are made on the basis of the so-called legitimate interest that NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences has. This legitimate interest applies to online proctoring of all online tests and assessments, but also to other situations you may already have encountered. Besides online proctoring, NHL Stenden often records students for education purposes, for example with regard to competence development, presentation assessments or to be able to provide specific feedback.

Can I object to proctoring?
Yes, the law offers you the possibility to object. If you have weighty arguments and wish to object, please do so as soon as possible via privacyrechten@nhlstenden.com. You can rest assured that we will do everything we can to protect your privacy.

I don’t have a workplace at home where I can do a test on my own and undisturbed. What should I do?
We recommend you find somewhere outside your own home where you can do the test on your own and undisturbed. If you can’t, please inform your study programme’s exam committee.

Can the tests be done on an iPad or Android tablet?
No. You can only do the tests on a laptop or pc using the latest version of Windows or iOS. You need to have a laptop or desktop with a working camera, microphone, and a reliable internet connection. Make sure you have also installed the Google Chrome browser.

When I login to Quayn, I get an Unknown error message.
This is because some accounts still need to be made in Quayn. We are busy sorting this out and you will have access to your account in Quayn at least one day before your test.

What should I do if my laptop stops working halfway through the test?
The test application saves the test while you are working on it. If your laptop or computer stops working during the test, please contact your study programme’s exam committee to discuss what can be done next.

Do I have to leave my laptop’s camera on throughout the whole of a test?
The camera on your laptop or pc is used to monitor you and your surroundings. In addition, recordings are made of what is happening on your screen during the test. This is done using ProctorExam. During the test you will need to install your mobile phone as an additional camera, which you position behind your workspace.

How do I identify myself?
You can ONLY identify yourself with your passport, ID card or driver's license issued by the Netherlands, another EU member state, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. This is laid down in art. 6.9 of the Education and Examination Regulations; a student can only identify himself with an identity document as referred to in the Identification Act. If desired, you can cover your social security number (BSN).


Which systems should I use for my exams?
There are various test applications in which tests are taken; most tests are taken in Quayn and Blackboard and some tests in Mobius or ANS. Via Proctor Exam you will be directed to the correct test application; you do not choose yourself.

When will I get instructions for the test?
You’ll receive instructions for the test at least one day in advance. You will receive two messages. The first is a confirmation link. Once you have confirmed your participation, you will receive the second message giving you comprehensive instructions on how to do the test.

Technical difficulties when starting your test?

Half an hour prior to the start of your test, you can ask for help at the technical helpdesk via the link below. They will then contact you to help you with the technical problem.


Students with a disability

I am always granted extra time, will this also apply to online tests?
Yes, your extra time facilities also apply at home.

I used to do my tests on a computer instead of on paper, how will this be done now?
You can take the test at home on your own computer/laptop.

I always take my tests in a quiet/solo space, how will this work in case of online testing?
Try to create this environment in your own home. The university of applied sciences cannot offer these facilities.

I always take speech tests. Will this option also be available in the digital testing environment?
Quayn and Blackborad offer the option to have the test read aloud. You will receive a separate instruction email.

I always take my tests on A3 paper. Will this option also be available in the digital testing environment?
The A3 facility cannot be offered. Should taking the digitaltest without A3 be a problem, please contact your study programme’s exam committee.

I always take my tests on yellow paper. Will this option also be available in the digital testing environment?
No, it is not.

Privacy considerations associated with the use of ProctorExam

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