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Computer Based Test (CBT) in Higher Education
Computer Based Test (CBT) simply refers to tests and assessments conducted through the use of the organised systems on computers. Computer Based tests have the ability to automate a very time-consuming task, marking, and monitoring progress. Computer Based test as a test that can be used in a supervised or non-supervised environment and can allow students to check their own progress through self-assessment. It can also be used for testing lower-order skills (such as knowledge, understanding and application); it can also be used for testing higher-order skills to improve the students’ analysis, synthesis and evaluation skills with more complex application software.
Computer Based test has a range of activities which include the delivery, marking, and analysis of all or part of the student assessment process using computer technologies. Some key reasons for using computer based test are to increase the frequency of assessment, motivating students to learn and encouraging skills practice, to broaden the range of knowledge assessed. It also increases feedback to students and lecturers and extends the range of assessment methods. Increase in objectivity, consistency and reduction in marking loads of script and other cases resulting in administrative efficiency.
The use of CBT for entrance examinations in education, military training, and certification examinations by professional groups and promotional examinations in various stages and categories of life cannot be overstressed in this century. Computer-based tests as a way to increasingly provide a quick method of marking summative assessments for large groups of students.
Advantages of Computer Based Test (CBT)
CBT system is not an alternative method for conducting examinations but represents an important qualitative shift away from traditional methods of testing students through “objective” type as popularly called. Advantages available in computer based test does not mean that CBTs are intrinsically better than other tests methods as a testing format does not affect test scores of students and as such CBT can be considered a valid and acceptable testing mode. Advantages of computer based test are numerous compared to its disadvantages.
They include, among others:
✔ Efficiency: It takes less time for teachers to prepare, distribute, and grade online tests compared to paper tests. Also, it is easily scalable, whether you are assessing 20 students or 2,000.
✔ Convenience: Students can take the assessment at a convenient time and place they choose, rather than having to take it at a fixed schedule.
✔ Automatic Scoring with Instant Feedback: A computer can automatically score the assessment and provide students with immediate feedback on their performance.
✔ Analytics and Reports: The computer-based examination software enables you to make data-driven decisions as it collects a large amount of data that can help you identify who is having trouble and also improve the assessments over time.
✔ Security Configurations: Online assessment creators have a variety of features to prevent cheating and unauthorized access.
✔ Less human error: Computer-based assessment removes a significant amount of human error, such as grading errors.
✔ Re-usability: Create tests and even individual questions once and reuse them easily on other assessments.
Disadvantages of CBT
Despite the numerous advantages that CBT has brought to the educational system. It still has its own shortcomings. Its disadvantages include the following among others:
✔ CBT is often interpreted as simple multiple-choice tests, only suitable for the repetition of factual knowledge but not to address higher cognitive levels like understanding, synthesis, analysis or judgment.
✔ the quality of examinations constricted to closed, automatically evaluated questions are often seen as a didactical step backward and as being not worthy for a higher level of academics.
✔ Students with insufficient computer literacy or differences in computer performance may be disadvantaged despite the expertise/understanding of such students in the course content.
✔ There may be a higher risk of (e-) cheating, e.g., by hacking the database of the question items, risk of a total loss of examination data, or lower security of sensitive personal data.
✔ Some lecturers may be discouraged by the time consumption caused by the initial development of numerous questions with well-tested scoring parameters, subject to laborious quality assurance.
How Computer Based Testing (CBT) Works?
Types of Computer Based Test (CBT)
Offline assessments: These are the assessments that are created on a computer-based test software and are available only on a single device.
These tests are offline, so a single set of tests cannot be taken on two devices simultaneously, and the responses are stored in a database. The grades are assigned manually, and the reports are prepared much later.
Online assessments: Online assessments or online computer-based tests are created using online assessment software so they can be taken anytime, anywhere, and on any device.
Online assessment in education is vital since a single set of tests or assessments can be attempted on many devices at the same time. The answers can be automatically graded, and the responses are stored in auto-generated reports.
The reports can be visited anytime by instructors to review individual or group performances. You can easily create reports using an online assessment tool.
Computer Based Test Vs. Paper Based Test
|Shortcomings||Paper-Based Assessments||Computer-Based Assessments|
|Creation||It takes a longer time to create.||Can be created in minutes with templates & ready-to-use questions|
|Wastage||Includes heaps of test papers||There is no paperwork involved in the process|
|Grading||Can take hours to grade||Grades automatically with automated grading|
|Feedback||Individual feedback can take hours||Feedback can be provided instantly.|
|Results||Due to manual grading and scoring of papers, results are often delayed by days.||Results are displayed instantly after completion.
Results can also be personalized.
|Reports||The reports have to be generated after all the assesses have completed their tests.||The detailed reports & statistics are
automatically generated for all the assesses.
|Performance Evaluation||Difficult to compare individual performances and analyse group performances.||With auto-generated reports & statistics,
it becomes easier to analyse overall student
performance and gauge the complexity of
|Risk of cheating||Always has to be invigilated physically to prevent cheating.||With better security controls like time-limits on questions, question randomization, and answer shuffling, there is no need for physical invigilation.|
|Security||Can be mishandled||Can be prevented from unauthorized access with password protection|
|Accessibility||Confined to physical spaces||Can be accessed on any device.|