Examinations Amidst A Pandemic – Are online exams an option?

The already struggling schooling industry, has recently been thrown another challenge of conducting safe and secure examinations for their students. Amidst the tussle, the industry opinion is split between parents increasingly leaning towards postponement of examinations and the authorities that are focused on creating a safe environment for their conduct. As a consequence, critical state sponsored examinations stand cancelled for the moment. While student safety is central to both stakeholders, it is also important to investigate the approach to examinations and their conduct as well as adapt to the latest trends and practices being employed in the assessment and examination vertical.

So what options are out there?

With greater amount of industries going digital and embracing the influx of technology, the assessment and examination community has also come of age. Online Examinations have emerged as a credible alternative to traditional pen and paper examinations that schools and educational institutions are adept to. While concepts like these are unheard of in the Indian ecosystem, there are ample examples internationally, of schools and universities leveraging technology and conducting safe and secure examinations using online solution providers. With the efficient use of state-of-the-art technology coupled with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, online examination portals have been able to overcome all malpractices and unethical behavior impacting exam integrity.

Why should schools opt for Online Examinations?

Online examinations are the natural progression for the schooling industry as they increasingly become aware of the benefits and effectiveness of bridging the digital divide. As schools have now become acquainted with the many benefits of online learning, it is only natural to look at other aspects of a child’s education that can be leveraged online. Moreover, schools stand to benefit from both proctored and un-proctored assessments that merge human oversight with AI based indicators that limit the possibilities of cheating, impersonation and other unethical actions.

Schools should see the advantages in opting for online examinations as under:

  • Cost Savings – When an online exam is conducted, there are direct implications on the costs of paper and stationery that are required to conduct exams the traditional way. The elimination of paper costs alone is extraordinary.
  • Time Management – Online examinations generally employ pre validation of the test taker to ensure that there is no impersonation or compromise of testing environment. This helps to overcome the lengthy formalities of the prevalent testing model and ensures that the test taker is able to maximize the utilization of his time. Moreover, as objective tests can be evaluated instantly it saves on the time of answer sheet evaluation and result declaration to a large extent
  • Security & Confidentiality – The traditional testing model requires creation and protection of question papers in a secure environment. In fact, many schools take extra care to ensure that their question papers do not leak into the hands of students. Online exams ensure that the test taker does not have access to the test unless authorized by the proctor. Systems in place can also ensure that the candidate does not have access to the internet or has limited access in order to maintain test integrity. Questions can even be randomized and presented as tests. This is why many schools have already adopted the practice of online examinations.
  • Flexibility & Accessibility – Online examinations make it possible for test takers to take an exam from the comfort of their homes. Some online service providers even allow test takers to schedule their examinations as per their availability. Schools can consider similar options for low stakes exams allowing their test takers to conduct examinations 24 x 7.

Administratively as well, online exams are a lot easier to conduct as compared to traditional tests. Schools are undivided on the toil and effort that goes into conducting examinations the present way. Online examinations enable a one stop solution for creating, conducting, evaluating and analyzing exams. Test results can be mapped to test takers along with their progression history to understand the developmental areas of the students and help them precisely.

What kind of examinations can be conducted?

Online examinations can be used to deliver all kinds of tests. Certain service providers also allow examiners to align learning outcomes to the tests that they choose to conduct. Such deep analysis is not possible with the traditional testing set up. Listed below are a few aspects of student development and supporting question types that can be tested via online exams:

It is relatively difficult to refute the many benefits of online examinations. Schools have an opportunity to ensure academic continuity for their students and rise above the ill effects of the pandemic. It is important for schools to recognize their infrastructural challenges and work around them to execute online assessment strategies that can help set the pace for all future assessments. Student’s should also be well prepared to be introduced to an online testing environment that is both safe and secure while being highly effective.

We look forward to being your expert advisor in Education