Computer-based examinations are the new normal in today’s world. And for good reason too. With the world becoming more and more technology-oriented it should hardly come as a surprise that the education sector was affected too. As the situation stands today we have observed a rapid growth in the number of centers present that provides the facilities to conduct computer-based tests. Students carrying their hall tickets and waiting outside test centers for the start of their exams have become a common sight in almost every city. But what exactly is a computer-based examination? And is it credible enough to be used to conduct major exams? Keep reading this article to learn more!
Okay, But What Is A Computer Based Examination?
As the name suggests, computer-based examinations employ the usage of computers. A computer is allocated to each individual student at the assigned center. The question paper will be displayed on the monitor screen. The student will be required to enter the right answers using the mouse, keyboard, or both. The computer being used by the student to take the online examination is usually called a “client” computer. There is also a “server” computer that is connected to the internet. The server computer is responsible for delivering the exam. Therefore, it is understood that computer-based tests are conducted in a client-server environment.
One of the most appealing features of computer-based tests is how versatile they are. It allows the organization to conduct the tests and easy assessment of students’ scores along with other data information. Computer-based exams are a much more secure way of conducting examinations as compared to offline exams. Offline exams consist of many uncertainties and they are a lot more prone to errors. Whereas on the other hand computer-based examinations, if rightly conducted, can be stress-free and simple for both the test giver as well as the organization conducting the exam.
We usually observe people referring to computer-based exams as online exams but there is a small difference between these two types of examinations. An online exam can be thought of as a subset of computer-based examinations as both these types of exams requires a computer. The distinguishing factor is that online exams require steady and uninterrupted access to the internet to be attempted successfully. Whereas computer-based examinations can be held even without the presence of an internet connection. The exam can be held on the computer without enabling access to the network and the answers can later be transferred online to a web server or can be locally stored in the system itself. Now that we have a basic idea of what a computer-based exam is, we are ready to have a look at all the benefits they provide and the reason why they are so popular.
Reasons why Computer-Based Exams are credible in today’s world
1. CBT Exams are convenient
Computer based test is convenient for both the candidate giving the exam as well as for the organization conducting the exam. All the candidate is required to do is show up to the exam center in time with all the necessary documents for verification. The candidate will be taken to the allotted system and is expected to give the examination without indulging in any malpractices. After the examination is completed all the answers of each individual candidate are transferred to the organization conducting the examination to assess the student’s score.
2. It allows Adaptive Testing
As the name suggests, computer-based adaptive testing is the type of testing in which the computer is able to assess a test taker and adapt the level of test questions accordingly. For example, you could specify that the computer has to display questions of increasing difficulty for each question that is correctly answered. In order to conduct adaptive testing, it might be essential for the organization conducting the exam to provide a database of questions of varying difficulty levels for the computer to choose from. Adaptive testing is a relatively recent addition to computer-based exams, and there is still a lot of room for it to grow.
3. Computer-based exams reduce opportunities to indulge in malpractices
Computer-based examinations provide more scope to ensure that integrity is maintained by the student throughout the exam and they do not indulge in any sort of malpractices. This can be done by online proctoring. In an online proctored examination the student is required to switch on their video and audio. They are then strictly monitored by an online proctor throughout the examination. This ensures stricter invigilation of the candidate. If any candidate is found guilty of indulging in any sort of malpractice the proctor has the freedom to terminate their examination.
4. It reaches out to a larger audience
One more benefit of computer-based examinations is that they are capable of reaching out to a larger audience as compared to other means of conducting examinations. Computer-based exams are flexible as they give the user a choice as to where they want a center and in which slot they want to attempt the exam. This is especially useful during a pandemic, such as Covid, where many were required to give exams right from their homes. Students were able to give exams from the comfort of their homes due to this feature.
5. Computer-based exams can assess a large number of candidates at once
Computer-based exams are capable of being conducted for a large number of students.
6. The computer is responsible for grading
As humans, we are prone to commit mistakes time and time again. But not computers. Computers are deadly accurate with whatever calculations they are required to do and almost never make a mistake. They also do it at record speed that no human could ever match. Therefore it makes sense to leave the grading part of the examination in the hands of a trusted software developed for the organization conducting the exam. This feature is called auto-grading. Auto grading of question papers ensures that a candidate receives the correct results in the fastest time possible.
7. It opens new doors to enhance candidates thinking capacity
Computer-based exams can really help to enhance students thinking abilities and problem-solving skills especially when they involve games or puzzles. There are numerous ways to conduct computer-based exams and experimenting with different ways challenges candidates to develop better reasoning skills. This method of conducting exams is particularly useful if you want to measure the analytical side of the candidate. It focuses on their reasoning skills and the decisions taken by them for certain problems will give a lot of insight into the candidate themself. One famous test following this type of examination method is the IQ test.
8. CBT Platform makes things easier for differently-abled people
Computer-based exams are very adaptable and make things easier for differently-abled people as well. They allow them to take exams from any position that is comfortable to them as long as a proctor is able to see that there is no malpractice taking place. There has been a significant rise in the number of differently-abled people willing to take examinations since computer-based exams have been introduced. Additional features such as braille keyboards, tools to magnify, screen readers, voice-to-text and text-to-voice have all gone a long way to ensure that no disability can stand in the path of equal opportunities.
9. It also conserves a lot of time and energy
Computer-based exams play a huge role in conserving time for both the parties involved in the examination, which are, the test taker and the test maker. All the test maker has to do is prepare the question papers and the correct solution key and upload it into the software in which the online exam is being conducted. The software then takes care of ensuring the questions are displayed correctly to the candidate and ensures that the answers are evaluated correctly as well. The student is also set free from the burden of pen and paper tests and can attempt their exam better.
Therefore, the above-listed reasons give us an idea of the credibility and benefits of computer-based tests in the current evaluation system. As we can see computer-based tests are here to stay and in the near future their influence in the education sector will only grow. This will help the education sector to grow immensely as students have a more comfortable alternative to attempting exams as compared to the other previous modes of exams. Computer-based examinations have established their credibility and we will definitely see a lot more of them taking place in the near future.