Examity, a platform that serves online course providers with proctoring services to authenticate the identity of students and ensure they don’t cheat, has raised $90 million in a round of funding from Boston-based private equity firm Great Hill Partners.
The online education industry is expected to grow from a $4 billion market today to $21 billion by 2023. That’s why massive open online courses (MOOCs) have attracted significant investment, with Coursera last week announcing a $103 million funding round. But supervising tests online is inherently trickier than in brick-and-mortar exam halls, which is why Examity has been working to help remote proctors since its inception in 2013.
“As college cheating scandals continue to make headlines, institutions are turning to technology to validate the learning experience and ensure confidence in student outcomes,” said Examity founder and CEO Michael London.
The Newton, Massachusetts-based startup offers a handful of services to ensure the person being tested is who they say they are and that they follow the rules for the duration of the test. The first step is to verify the individual’s ID before the test starts, which requires test-takers to create an Examity profile (if they haven’t done so already) and upload a copy of their government ID.
Different exams will require different levels of verification, which is why Examity gives its clients a range of options — including automated ID verification, which uses “proprietary technology coupled with other factors” to validate the student’s identity.
Examity also offers mobile ID verification, which employs biometric authentication — including fingerprint, face, and voice recognition — to validate the test-taker’s ID. And then there is live authentication, which relies on a real person to confirm the student’s identity and run through the exam rules while inspecting their test environment.
Post-verification, Examity offers its customers the option of live or automated proctoring, with the latter using what Examity calls “proprietary machine learning algorithms” to detect unusual behavior, using data captured from screenshots, audio files, and video.
Examity had previously raised around $30 million, and with another $90 million in the bank it plans to expand the scope of its coverage across universities, employers, and certification providers to ensure all exams are administered with integrity.
The company claims that more than 500 colleges and employers use its services to administer remote exams, including a number of traditional educational institutions, such as Penn State University, Texas A&M University, and Indiana University. It expects to proctor more than 2 million such exams this year, and it also works with established online education platforms, including Duolingo and Coursera, as well as private companies such as Amazon.
According to a report from the National Center for Education Statistics, around a third of all college students take at least one course online. And with the corporate elearning market expected to grow from a roughly $20 billion business today to $30 billion by 2022, the need for remote proctoring technology will only grow.
“As online learning becomes ubiquitous in not just the classroom but also the workplace, universities and employers are increasingly emphasizing the security and integrity of the test-taking experience,” said Chris Busby, a partner at Great Hill Partners.