The implementation of computer-based testing is on the rise in the education sector as institutions continue to integrate technology with pedagogical approaches when delivering the curriculum. The demand for computer-based testing aligns with the institution’s continued efforts to seek greater understandings of learning outcomes achievements and student performances. The College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences implemented a trial period to test the functionality of Examsoft, a program which “combines assessment creation, administration, scoring and analysis into a single, platform that provides teachers with direct evidence of student learning and faculty with greater insight for metric-based decision-making.”
There are many advantages to implementing computer-based testing. Students receive prompt feedback on their exam performance and are given access to electronic exam reviews. Students receive detailed reports, which show their strengths and weakness following each exam, allowing for self-directed learning. Faculty are able to create, deliver, and score assessments much more efficiently. The reports generated by Examsoft provide analyses on exam taker achievement of learning goals providing powerful data-driven resources to assist in student evaluation, accreditation and program assessment.
The article Computer-Assisted Assessment: Impact on Higher Education Institutions (Bull, 1999), outlines the many factors surrounding computer-based testing. A hurdle to overcome will include the cultural shift for some stakeholders. Students are accustomed to taking pen and paper exams, so there may be some apprehension during this transition. In the attempt to counteract any hesitation, we’ve provided students with opportunities to sit through mock exams and offer informative resources regarding the new platform. Faculty organize the design, implementation, and maintenance of computer-based testing protocols assisted by the Assessment Office staff with each step. These organizational concerns are alleviated by properly training all users, collaborating during these initial stages of development, and establishing a clear picture of all responsibilities and services following the trial period.
As the trial period comes to a close, the organizational structure of this platform will need to be finalized. The experiences of all stakeholders will be taken into consideration, to get a thorough understanding of the trial’s successes and any difficulties we need to address. Nevertheless, the advantages of implementing computer-based testing outweigh the perceived difficulties through proper collaboration and significant thought to ensure a strong protocol is put into practice.