Computer based testing
Computer-based exams/ tests are the exams conducted through the computer instead of paper and pencil format. Computer-based tests are widely used in different areas like colleges, schools, Competitive exams, employee training programs, and many other platforms. At Computer-based Exams, candidates sit in front of a computer and the questions are presented on the monitor and the candidates submit the answers through the use of keyboard or mouse. Each computer is connected to a server, which prepares the question set and delivers it to the candidates on the computer.
In competitive exams, optical mark reader (OMR) answer sheets are provided to the candidates. The responses marked by the candidates on OMR sheets are scanned by the OMR device and the scanned data is recorded in the computer. Then the responses are evaluated using the computer programs. It leads to declaration of the result in lesser time as compared to manual checking. Thus computers can be used for both conducting and evaluating tests.
i. Learners can take multiple, short, reliable assessments administered throughout the life of an e-learning program. The data gathered from these assessments can be correlated with national or regional standards so that learners can be measured on these standards. Data gathered over time—longitudinal data—can be used by online programs and instructors to identify trends and for program improvement.
ii. Computer-based testing (CBT) gives awarding bodies the opportunity to remove geographical barriers and reach more students.
iii. Tests can be personalized and tailored to individual students. The level of difficulty of each question can be modulated depending on the learner’s previous responses.
iv. Select-response tests (like multiple choice or True/False) can be scored instantly, allowing learners to instantly see how they did on an assessment and online instructors to make real-time instructional changes based on assessment evidence.
v. Unlike pen and paper exams, CBT collects a lot more information than just the candidate’s responses. CBT can capture data about the actually test such as candidate name and ID, start time, end time, date, workstation ID, as well as the sequence questions were answered, correct responses, candidate responses, time spent on a question etc.
Innovations in evaluation systems.
With advancement in technology, newer means of evaluating the progress made by students are also being developed. Earlier, only oral and written tests were used for evaluation. Teachers had to check the answer sheets manually which led to delays in the declaration of results. Students could copy answers from chits or from other students as the paper was same for everyone. It was not possible for the teacher to set different paper for each student. Now, these shortcomings have been taken care in the new methods of evaluation such as computer- assisted evaluation and computer-based evaluation. In computer-based evaluation, the test is conducted on computer and the test can be programmed in such a way that each student will either get a question paper with different questions or with questions in a different order. Since the test is conducted online, the recorded responses will also be saved in the computer. Hence, these can be evaluated in much lesser time than manual checking. For instance, the recent NTA UGC-NET exam was held on 22 December 2018, and the result was declared on 5 January 2019. The result was announced in less than 15 days’ time. Online tests or quizzes can be conducted on Google forms.
Other than the changes in the mode of conducting the exam, there have been changes in the type of questions. Earlier, a question like ‘Define evaluation’ will check the memory and retaining power of the student. Students have to answer the question based on what they had memorized earlier, for which they used to get marks. But nowadays, the questions are more of conceptual nature.