The benefits of digital exams for the university administration
Debating the nuances of EdTech is, as ever, a hot topic among policymakers and researchers’ communities; and as in almost every high-stakes debate, the views are polarised or still undecided. Therefore, the nature of the impact of technology in the examination processes is something that is continuing to be subjected to analysis and design. We believe that radical benefits of education – that would fit the complex needs of lifelong learners of the future and modern educational institutions – require some bold thinking and new problem-solving tools. Such practice is made possible only by smart utilisation of emerging technologies, such as our own Inspera Assessment.
In this article, we share with you some arguments in favour of digital assessment being a benefit for an end-to-end examination lifecycle. These benefits are voiced by our partner HE institutions, who have been transform15ing their administrative processes and classrooms to welcome the innovations whenever appropriate, resulting in ever-higher digitisation rates.
Liberating resources and optimising workflows
University administrators profit by not having to spend nearly as much time on the coordination, archiving and reporting, involved in circulating exam papers. No more fear of papers getting lost in submission or when being transported from place to place; every single paper is accounted for and at the immediate disposal of staff, wherever they are.
Not only do learners and administrators benefit from on-screen exams; the impact is strongly felt by lecturers too. Time spent on marking papers can be significantly reduced by auto-marking features, increased readability of submissions, and access to all materials in one place, even remotely. Indeed, the authoring of exams can be more timely than before, but that investment is more than compensated with the cost-effectiveness of the process, not to mention the new reflections that could be made on the course using insights from learning analytics.
Fair assessment means security and accessibility are guaranteed
Preventing cheating, intentional or unintentional, is key for establishing fair assessment. Checking for plagiarism in submissions delivered on paper is very time-consuming and unreliable, and that is one issue that e-assessment easily solves. New technology poses new challenges, and security has therefore been one of our main concerns when building our platform.
For the assessment to be truly fair, it needs to provide equal opportunities for all learners and promote inclusion – peers taking exams side by side, regardless of their special needs. Technology is a powerful ally in reaching that goal, and you can read more here about our design thinking approach to accessibility.
Preparing students for the realities of the workplace
When preparing for exams and taking notes from the lectures, students today are more likely to use computers than traditional stationery. Technology is what the younger generations are used to in their free time, and that influences the process of studying as well. Creating an artificial barrier to those tools, just for the occasion of an exam, can, therefore, be stressful.
We also have to think about what happens after one gets a diploma. When the students leave the educational institutions to apply their knowledge in the workplace, it is again more common to use computers than pen and paper. In order to better prepare students for that transition, it is only natural to make the assessment digital as well. That way, alignment is achieved between teaching and learning, exams, and the workplace.
Enabling creativity in assessment administration methods
Finally, new technology also means new opportunities in the practice of teaching and learning. Teachers and administrators are provided with the tools to design new question types, scenarios, and exam types; personalise the assessment against student profiles and communicate with the students regardless of their location or accessibility needs. Best practice paradigms, such as flipped classroom, are becoming a standard.
A subtle side-effect of the newly-gained freedom, which the well-implemented emerging technologies enable, is that everyone involved feels more creative. The experimentation with the ways of working fuels up motivation in staff, and in result, in students.
The transition from paper-based examinations to digital examinations has changed the entire assessment lifecycle for the exam administration and brings significant benefits for all stakeholders – administrative and academic staff and their students:
- Monitoring the entire exam lifecycle in one place
- High standard of exam security through the lock-down browser
- Quicker marking and feedback, and easy collaboration with peers
- Greater efficiency thanks to digital workflows
- Savings in printing, transport and storage costs
Hence, it is an important objective for policymakers to further pursue establishment of e-assessment in HE administration and management. Learn more about how you can optimise your exam administration with e-assessment at our website, and get in touch if you’d like to continue the conversation on this topic with our education consultants.
Come and meet the Inspera Assessment representatives in person at #AUA2020 on Exhibitor Stand number 16. View the full programme here.