Why students prefer online assessments

Janison|March 23, 2022

It wasn’t too long ago that seating students in an exam hall with nothing but paper and pen was considered the only way to run an assessment. But as educators needed to find new ways for students to take tests during COVID-19, the shift to digital via online assessment is becoming less of a foreign concept.Students get many advantages from taking exams online. Here are just a few.

4 key advantages of online tests

1. Digital familiarity

Today’s students are digitally native. They’ve grown up with keyboards, touch screens and interactive interfaces as their norm. Giving them access to these in an assessment setting helps them to fully engage with the task at hand. “A pen-and-paper exam feels uncomfortable to these groups,” says Laure James, Senior Visual Designer at Janison.

2. Better time and progress management

Students can worry about missing a question, or that time will run out. An online assessment platform removes that concern by giving valuable progress feedback that a paper-based exam booklet cannot. This includes flagging skipped questions for addressing later, tools for easy navigation, a real-time word count, and the ability to edit answers. Online assessments for students can also provide them with an on-screen progress summary to pace themselves appropriately.

3. Increased inclusivity and equitability

One of the key advantages of the digital medium for assessments is that they allow for equity adjustments and customised exam experiences for students who have a range of accessibility needs.

The very nature of online assessments and the features embedded within the software offer much more accessibility than static paper-based tests. Examples of tools that equalise the exam experience include the ability to increase font size or convert text to speech for visually impaired candidates, and text and background colours to improve readability for students who have dyslexia.

Other assistive technology can allow a quadriplegic student to operate a computer independently, using voice control or a mouth stylus, versus dictating answers to an assigned writer.

4. Quicker and fairer marking

You might think this is a benefit for the schools and educational bodies, rather than for the students themselves. Not if you want to receive your results sooner, which every student inevitably does.

Digital tests eliminate the logistics and time involved in sending papers out to an external facility for marking, with the risk of them being delayed or going missing. Online assessment platforms can quickly mark large batches of tests, with easy-to-use tools and rubrics. For certain assessment types, it’s feasible for students to receive their results in as little as 24 hours. Additionally, in-built quality controls standardise markers’ responses for high-stakes exams, meaning results are not only faster but fairer.

The shift to online: a change for the better

The great debate regarding traditionally delivered exam questions versus digitally delivered tests has been forced forward by COVID-19. As disruptive as this time has been for schools and educational institutions, which have had to reinvent themselves with little warning, it’s also been a valuable opportunity for students to benefit from advances in exam processes that could change the way they sit tests; even take their HSC.

Click here to learn how you can streamline your assessment delivery experience.

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