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As technology is now applied in every part of life, educational assessment has not been left behind. Computer-based assessments are becoming a crucial part of the education system with the last two decades witnessing the most profound impact. In computer-based testing, the candidates use computers to answer questions presented on the monitor. The test-taker submits the answer using a keyboard or a mouse.
Computer-based test is generically used for any test that is given and taken using computers, without depending on the internet. That is, a computer-based test may or may not be connected to a server on the intranet/internet and may act as standalone testing. Once the exam is over, the result can be transferred online to a web server or locally stored on the computer’s hard disk.
Before the advent of the computer based testing, the testing process was laborious. Computer technology is adding a new dimension to many areas of the psychological testing process. Computerised testing has brought about elimination of waste and resulting in efficiency.
The time consumed in creating question papers, arranging supplies and evaluation can be avoided with online computer-based testing as it automates the entire process. Additionally, resource consumption is significantly lower. For example, the requirement for examination halls, seating configurations, printed papers, travel and other logistical are no longer necessary. The delivery time that relied on postal service or physical delivery to schools and back to the Examination Board is completely eliminated
A computer-based test can also accommodate the needs of differently-abled learners by enabling them to take up assessments more conveniently, since it integrates features such as braille keyboards, magnification tools, screen readers, voice-to-text, and text-to-voice. It also allows convenient administration of surveys and when administration is more convenient it increases the chances of more learners completing it.
The current computer software allows for the development, administration and scoring adaptive tests. Computer adaptive tests are a form of computer-based tests whose difficulty level adjusts, based on the learner’s previous answers, depending on the examinee’s ability and knowledge. For example, if the test-taker answers a question correctly, the next problem will be a bit difficult. In this way, tests can be personalized and tailored to individual students. Thus it provides an effective means to assess students’ abilities more precisely.
In computer-based testing, testing can be conducted all year round and learners select a test slot as per their convenience. Learners can take a test from a place of their choice. They do not need to travel to a particular physical location to write a test, enabling candidates from far-off areas to take their test.
Well, computer-based testing is much secured than you may think. Various available security features make computer-based testing a highly secure mode of assessment. In addition, proctoring software monitors learners whilst they take the test. The data recorded by the proctoring software is transferred to a proctoring service for review.
Select-response tests can be scored instantly, allowing learners to see how they did on an assessment, while the time for scoring open-ended tests that use rubrics can be reduced considerably. Computer-based testing can also auto grade. This feature eliminates the scope of human error and saves considerable time in evaluating a large number of candidates. This allows teachers to spend more time on feedback to students.
Learners can take multiple, short, reliable assessments administered throughout the life of an e-learning program. Data gathered over time can be used by online programs and instructors to track learner growth over time, identify trends and for program improvement and data analyzed for evaluation and research purposes.
Computer-based assessments are not a panacea. It won’t help learners pass the test, but just an assessment tool to measure student learning. If not used appropriately, it will produce a poor measure. Technology offers several benefits once assessments are properly designed.
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