Digital learning has long made laptops and gadgets an integral part of the classroom environment. But when it comes to testing, the advancement was not that rapid. Before the global pandemic and social distancing, many students still had to do their exams using traditional pen and paper rather than customary screen and mouse.
The situation across the world encouraged educational institutions to finally appreciate the benefits of computer-based testing. So what are the factors that shifted the balance between paper and machines?
More Test Items
The procedure of manual testing hasn’t changed much since Victorian times. It still works with simple tools, taking multimedia resources off the table. But as the technologies continue to evolve, the examination methods should also adapt to the challenges of the modern world. Computer-based testing allows using not only images, video, or audio clips but also high-fidelity simulations that help to assess students’ practical skills.
Computer exams can be used to test different aspects and skills acquired by participants. Exam software draws questions from a large database of test items. These question banks store pieces related to various subjects, topics, and past exams. The tasks stored in the database can be organized by level of difficulty, grade, assessment type, learning subjective, and objective. The range of test items can vary from select-response inquiries and true/false statements to fill-in-the-blanks and short answers to an essay prompt.
Help with Open-Ended Tasks
Articles, research papers, portfolios, and senior projects fall into the category of open-ended assessments. These kinds of tasks often prove to be the most difficult both for test-takers and instructors. Conventional testing requires each party to do their part of the job, that is, writing and grading, by hand. Digital tools can easily tackle this issue.
Students are usually devastated by the tedium of correcting mistakes, reorganizing paragraphs, and editing their writing on paper. Word processors embedded in computer exam software make the drafting, revising, and rewriting cycle much simpler. Moreover, students can use online services to learn how to do my papers for me with better quality. They can ask professional essay writers to edit or proofread their work and thus receive valuable feedback.
For teachers, the biggest pain point in open-ended tasks is their grading. However, many computer-based testing systems come with software extensions that can speed up this process. They automatically score the assessment rubrics, making it easier to evaluate different aspects of the student’s response.
Computer-based testing is perfect for running multiple choice exams. Special exam software can instantly recognize a correct answer among a set of distracters and indicate the wrong response. It means students can see how they did on an assessment right after completing the task. Automatically generated results eliminate chances of human error. They also spare instructors the evaluation duties, allowing them to focus on generating reports.
Immediate grading is a useful feature in the college admission process. It helps educational institutions to make speedy decisions regarding student acceptance. On the other hand, applicants can find out whether their scores are high enough to get into the university they want to attend. If they need to improve their performance, prompt access to their test results can encourage youngsters to get started much earlier.
Organizing testing takes long hours of planning, compiling exam questions, marking, and standardization. Pen and paper examinations bring on additional operations. They entail printing hard copies of documents, arranging for safe delivery of the papers, and securing a test center. Educational institutions need to identify or invite proctors to administer an exam session. Post-exam activities, such as the collecting, scanning, and scoring of exam papers, may also require extra staff, which suggests greater expenditures. Computer-based testing allows organizations to cut down on these tasks, minimizing time and costs attributable to exam management.
Comfortable Testing Environment
Computer-based testing allows exam center authorities to access digital copies of the question paper. This contributes to lower consumption of resources and also provides the opportunity to run the test more often and in more locations. It is especially beneficial for students from remote areas and those taking distance learning courses. Participants get to choose when and where it is convenient for them to sit an exam.
To distribute student flows evenly, testing centers can offer flexible scheduling. Students have the option to choose a date and exact time slot for doing their assessment. The window for taking the exam can vary between one week and three weeks, so learners have plenty of time to register and appear for testing.
With so many advantages of computer-based testing, an increasing number of trainers and educators are implementing this technology for a more time-efficient, accurate, and cost-effective examination procedure. In the coming years, this tendency will be further reinforced. Many predict that within a decade, all the assessments are going to be conducted online or through the use of computer-aided facilities.