Computer based testing can follow an adaptive pattern of testing. This means that the system will adapt according to the pattern of student responses. This feature is critical considering that each question paper is unique and no questions are repeated. You can test the candidates without having to manually monitor which candidate got which set. This reduces the chance of cheating significantly. The same tests, when conducted using pen and paper format becomes too complicated.
Online testing can cover vast resources and include multiple references. Multiple levels and different question types can also be framed. You can run simulation or animation and have students put their observation on the same. This when done offline, would waste paper and limit the number of resources that can be utilized.
Entrance exams happen on a mass level. Online testing allows greater flexibility in timing and scheduling the test. For example, GMAT aspirants are allowed to take the exam at the time of their choosing from a place of their convenience. This means enhanced reach and more participation from students. Students would not have to travel to different cities to appear for the tests.
On the administration side, online testing systems or computer based tests make authoring, delivering, evaluating, and grading a quick process. Apart from following a green computing strategy, the system easily scales up and down to handle increasing or decreasing test taker traffic. Students get their results way ahead of time and have the option to select from a list of colleges.
Since cloud based assessment/testing is becoming a global concept, more assessment centres are being developed. With introduction of online proctoring services, soon the system would be robust enough to allow a student to take test from his home or place of his choice, without a chance to cheat in the test.
Computer Based Testing: Apprehensions
No positive change comes without significant challenges. Online testing has its own share of challenges too. The two most common being cheating and technical glitches. The potential for cheating during an online test is tough to eliminate. Also, since these assessments are cloud based, there is a high risk of managing thousands of them simultaneously. Data security is also an added concern faced by the assessment bodies. The risk of losing or compromising the test content due to poor data security measures applied at the server end makes the testing bodies wary of the online format of testing.
IIT-JEE, one of the most prestigious engineering entrance exams in India, has decided to roll out both the patterns of testing: offline and online, for its 2014 schedule. While it acknowledges that online exams provide an upper-hand in terms of authoring and scheduling the tests for the candidates, and also allowing the candidates to mark their answers only with a click of a mouse button. However, the concerned examination authorities are still wary of the fact that system failure or power outages might become a major bottleneck.
With advances in technology, almost all of us have certainly encountered an online test, during our school or college days. Computer based tests provide more flexibility to the test givers as far as authoring, scheduling, administering and grading the test is concerned. With swift test evaluation and report generation, test results can be announced almost right after a candidate has finished taking it or is out of the examination hall.
2014 is already a work in progress for a number of standardized and high stakes tests to go the online way, and the current trends forecast many more to come. Source
The New Year of 2014 has arrived, Test Today, don’t delay!