Knowledge is divine. It is the key to human evolution. But what makes an individual confirm that it has retained the know-how of a certain topic or a skill? The answer is: tests. Tests and assessments have evolved from proving one’s hunting prowess in the stone-age to written examinations in the 20th century.
Modern-day tests have been digitized as they generate accurate results in a very short time. Online examinations used to be conducted over several days to suffice the huge number of candidates. But new strategies have enabled test and assessment organizations to conduct tests in a single day.
Recently, a study carried out by Prometric (a leading test development and delivery organization) illustrated the necessary components needed for the best online examination and evaluation program. This was done by comparing the multi-day and single-day test models. Here’s what they found:
- Test centers need a flexible and powerful setup. The part of the computer network used for examination on the test site should be isolated from the existing network. This way security risks and machine failure on one or more systems does not affect the whole network.
- Use of laptops should be avoided for the test since their portability can increase security concerns.
- It is better to keep a lesser number of workstations in a test site as it returns better performance and security. Instead of 200 systems with one proxy server, divide them into 40 systems with a dedicated proxy server for each of them.
- Dependence on third party test site rentals can be harmful to the exam as the staff can be easily compromised. To overcome this, additional staff from consultancies can be hired along with a separate set of dedicated auditors. Similarly, outsourcing the evaluation process can make the process corruption-free.
- A high invigilator-to-candidate ratio ensures unfair means in tests are minimized.
- A protected buffer zone in the test site helps in keeping out unauthorized personnel that might risk the test security.
- Identification of test candidates makes sure that they’re taking the right test on the right schedule. Imposters and blacklisted examinees can be barred from the examination using biometric solutions.
- Wider test windows over multiple test sessions allow candidates to overcome unforeseen circumstances that might affect their test, like the death of a relative or rough weather.
- With test content development, consistent and valid tests can be designed under the ETS standards. Psychometric analyses determine the assessment quality.
- To conclude the whole process, test items and results should be properly encrypted and placed in a high-security zone, like a bank.
To sum it up, a lot of detail and risk is involved in the production and application of high-end digital tests. Examination and assessment developers need to ensure that their efforts provide a fair chance to the candidates who have to prove their mettle.