Some time ago, taking an examination meant moving to a physical location, at a specific time, to sit for a pen-and-paper test supervised by a human invigilator. But that has changed over the past years as more processes shift online.
These days, the experience is more like; you and your computer sitting anywhere you wish (at any time). Supervision happens remotely, and sometimes feedback is immediate.
But that’s just the tip of a larger iceberg. Moving to web-based exam testing has upgraded the assessment process in more ways than you ever imagined.
From Pen-&-Paper to Online Methods
With assessments moving online, the testing skills and technologies continue to revolutionize. These transformations have changed the exam room experience in a number of ways such as:
- Remote Examinations
- New Question Types
- Unique Monitoring
- Immediate Results
- Exam at Your Convenience
- Active Feedback
Many other aspects of exam testing, as we shall see.
6 Ways Tech is Impacting the Exam Experience
Technology is one of the major drivers of the current transformations in the assessment industry. Students and academic institutions are not the only ones benefiting from online assessments. Organizations also rely on these tools to train and assess their employees.
Below are some of the ways new trends and technologies are shaping the tomorrow of examinations.
1. Remote Examinations
The thought of taking a test remotely was plagued by resistance from critics who were pessimistic about its reliability and credibility.
But as the adage goes, “necessity is the mother of invention and innovation.” Many candidates only realize we needed remote testing even long before the COVID-19 pandemic that has torn the world apart and demands physical distancing.
Sure, it takes a lot to assess a candidate remotely, but improvements in exam testing solutions have made it possible.
An instructor or tutor can now prepare a test, inform students of an oncoming exam, invigilate or supervise the testing process remotely (via proctoring) and turn on auto-grading to ensure immediate feedback. Students can also reach out to instructors to discuss results.
This arrangement ensures a complete and credible assessment process that both instructors, tutors, and recruiters can rely on.
2. New Question Types
Video-based tests, audio-based questions, and pictorial questions are just a few common examples of the new question types we can enjoy, thanks to tech.
Exam testing tools are also built to enable specific question needs like symbols, flow charts, complicated mathematical calculations, and chemical equations.
And did you know games are now part of learning, training, and assessments? Implementing game-based learning and assessment techniques makes learning more enjoyable, increasing learner engagement.
With all these new types of questions come different experiences for both candidates and examiners.
3. Unique Monitoring
Online proctoring techniques vary largely from traditional methods. Monitoring a candidate through a webcam is just the start of it.
Proctoring can also leverage the power of artificial intelligence. AI-driven proctors are clever at spotting and pointing out phony activities.
They can also track body behavior and eye movements, and flag any other foreign devices or persons in the room.
The multilayer student identification procedure also ensures only the right candidate sits for the examination. It involves analyzing a candidate’s pre-submitted photo, proof of ID, and their registration records.
And to ensure “Google doesn’t lend a hand,” digital assessment uses custom browsers that restrict access to other websites where a student could source information amid an exam.
4. Immediate Exam Results
Gone is the era when exam results came after weeks of student panic or sessions of hectic marking by instructors.
Technology now enables auto-grading, which is not only instant but also accurate. Quick results can also encourage further learning by tightening the feedback cycle.
Learners can tell, straight away, their weak areas and begin making improvements immediately.
Lastly, immediate results can also suffice in high-stakes exams, where the final result matters to the student or recruiting organization.
5. Exam at Your Convenience.
The ability to take an exam at your preferred time and place is a game-changer.
Technologies like those that enable instructors to shuffle the order of questions ensure a cheat-proof exam even if students take the test at different times.
While it is okay to want to have all students take exams simultaneously, the instructor’s time can never be a one-size-fits-all for everyone.
Allowing the candidate to sit the exam in their preferred time and place offers a different examination experience and increases the likelihood of a better performance.
It also helps prevents instances where students miss examinations due to late arrivals or inability to reach the venue.
6. Active Feedback
Student-instructor feedback is an integral part of learning. An active feedback cycle can help remind and prepare students for oncoming exams.
It can also help a learner notice weaknesses and seek explanations for various grading post-exams.
Many online examination platforms feature messaging and video chat tools that allow tutors to communicate directly and personally with each student.
This kind of active feedback is essential in solidifying the tutor-student bond and may exceed the classroom experience because the instructor must reach out to all their students.
Assessments are no longer what they were sometime back, thanks to the relentless advancements in tech.
Exam testing technologies have improved the examination experience for both learners and instructors.
Still, like any other approach, online exams have their shortcomings, which developers are working to improve by the day.