McGraw Hill: Stop Selling Racially-Biased, Harmful Online Proctoring Software

McGraw Hill

Private online proctoring companies use invasive and racially-biased technology that violates students’ privacy and hurts their mental health. Some recent examples include:

  • A Black student was unable to take a test because proctoring software couldn't “recognize" her face.

  • A female student reported being condescended to and called "sweetheart"  by online proctors.  

  • Students have reported urinating in their seats during tests because the online proctor wouldn’t let them leave their screens.

Yet McGraw Hill, one of the largest textbook companies in the U.S. sells online proctoring software packaged with their textbooks. McGraw Hill says that diversity and inclusion are important to them, but they are actively hurting students of color.    

Please sign this open letter from parents to McGraw Hill, asking them to stop selling racially-biased and harmful software.

Sponsored by

To: McGraw Hill
From: [Your Name]

We are writing today to request that you end your relationship with Proctorio and all other invasive and racially-biased online proctoring tools permanently. These tools harm students of color, and as an institution that claims to value diversity and inclusion, McGraw Hill should not support them.

Proctorio and other online proctoring tools have a history of racial bias and violating students’ privacy. Writing for the MIT Technology Review, a librarian at UC Denver shared the following story: “A Black woman at my university once told me that whenever she used Proctorio's test proctoring software, it always prompted her to shine more light on her face. The software couldn’t validate her identity and she was denied access to tests so often that she had to go to her professor to make other arrangements. Her white peers never had this problem.”

As has been amplified by the racial justice uprisings, and addressed by the City of Portland’s Director of Equity and Human Rights Dr. Markisha Smith: “Being antiracist means understanding through the use of root cause analysis that the history of surveillance in this country is rooted in slavery, with the earliest examples of controlling the movement of enslaved people being the ‘slave pass’. Being antiracist means ensuring the safety of BIPOC communities first.”

Automated proctoring is also a direct and abhorrent violation of our children’s privacy. Proctorio and other companies get access to personal data from our children, including their personal computers, private rooms in their homes, and other data. It is unacceptable that our children must surrender their civil rights, especially while attending a public institution, to complete their education.

Furthermore, Proctorio has threatened legal action against people who have criticized or exposed their invasive practices.

Your Inclusion & Diversity statement states "Our focus on inclusion and diversity will ensure that our team members, products, and customer experiences are relevant and represent the diverse population of customers we serve" We demand that McGraw Hill Publishing cease its performative allyship and end its peddling of racially-biased, invasive surveillance technology immediately.

Sincerely, the undersigned.