An Examiner’s Perspective: Making a Case for Paperless Assessments
Online exams or paperless tests are being increasingly incorporated as part of assessment systems across various disciplines to assess the knowledge and expertise of a candidate in their respective fields. However, the tales of wide scale adoption has been characterized with its fair share of commas.
The detractors have criticized the implementation of online assessments since the technology was originally introduced; their argument at that time was that the generation of candidates was not technology savvy. Time progressed and with it, so did our digital maturity and adeptness with technological solutions. Today, as a society, we have all embraced this technological revolution as part of our assessment systems. More and more examiners are using online exam software to conduct their evaluation process.
But, is the embracement just a reflection of our technological infatuation? Or, does the paperless assessment offers benefits which were previously unthinkable of with the traditional paper tests?
We look from an examiner’s perspective.
The Benefits of Online Exams
Variation in Structuring of Questions
Traditionally, with paper tests, examiners could structure their questions only in a specified way. Yes, the types of questions—free form, short questions, objectives—could all be incorporated in a paper based assessment but the structuring of these questions was limited.
There was no multimedia to play with: Situations were worded, at best supplemented with an illustrative. But,
And these points do matter, especially if you are conducting a test that rely on visual or audio assessment or include candidate who is more of a visual learners. You don’t have to arrange for a different setup, you can integrate all these features on a single platform.
A Stricter Surveillance
Cheating in exams has always been one of the primary concerns of examiners and administrators. The infamous peak over the shoulder of other candidates, or a quick glance at a crib sheet—paper tests come with all sort of loopholes that can be easily exploited by a candidate. However, with online exams, surveillance becomes more intense:
Various online exam software come with browser lock down features where a student being evaluated through online assessment cannot press any other key than what is required by the test. They cannot press the PrtScn, they cannot open a new tab and they cannot go to the previous screen.
Some online exam software have an in-built “accept first answer only” feature, which prevents the students from changing an answer in the event they have cheated.
Other online exam software come equipped with a feature where if any incident of cheating is detected by the machine (copy and paste, multiple sign-ins and using print screen), an email is sent to the examiner helping them identify the culprit.
Are you using online exam software to conduct assessment for your students? Or, do you think that paper tests are the best medium to do it? Please drop your opinions in the comment section below; we are definitely interested in hearing them.