Prometric : You can’t sharpen a blade without a grindstone. Similarly, the lack of examinations will contribute to the dumbing-down of education if left unchecked. Assessments and evaluation have evolved through multiple folds throughout history. At the peak of Sparta’s civilization, children were sent to the ‘Agoge’ where they would be tested and moulded into fine Spartan warriors. Fast forward to the 21st century and you’ll find the wave of digitization sweeping examinations under its crest.
This has been possible because of the reliability, accuracy, and promptness of computer-based testing (CBT). Even online examinations were once conducted painstakingly as not enough resources were available. Avant-garde strategies are now being used to reduce the difficulties of examination-planning. Among the forerunners of the examination designers is Prometric, a leading test development and delivery organization that incorporates a best-practices approach for testing and assessment.
Prometric recently conducted a study by comparing single-day and multi-day test models to understand the test-taking process better. What they found out will prove to be helpful in formulating new test-taking strategies.
- Test centers should have a powerful and dependable setup of computers that are isolated from other computers not dedicated to examination. This way, a network failure in one subnetwork won’t subjugate the subnetwork where the test is being organised.
- Portable devices like laptops should be avoided at all costs since it can cause a breach in security.
- Keep the number of workstations low for better management. Instead of having a 200-systemed examination center with one proxy server, there should be 5 test centers with 40 computers and their own proxy servers.
- Outsourcing the testing and evaluation process may raise security concerns as the staff cannot be reliable at times. Supplementary auditors and invigilators can keep the whole process clean.
- Use of unfair means can be reduced with a high invigilator-to-candidate ratio.
- A no-man’s land (like in international borders) can beset up on the test center premises. This will control unauthorized access of non-essential personnel.
- Biometric systems can identify test-takers. Imposters and black-listed examinees can be barred from attending the examination.
- CBT allows multiple test-taking windows where candidates can schedule their tests according to their convenience. Examinations over multiple sessions circumvent unexpected and difficult circumstances that examinees can face.
- Using ETS standards guarantee the development of high-quality test content that use consistent and verifiable facts.
- The whole process should be concluded with proper encryption practices and storage in secure storages that are burglary-proof.The only concern is of the stakeholders who adapt paper-based testing on computers and call it computer-based testing. Such practices should be discouraged in the industry as it promotes low-quality digital tests. The entire process involves a lot of scrutiny and attention to detail because of the risk involved in the creation and deployment of sophisticated online examinations. When proper safeguards are in place, test sponsor organizations and their partners can ensure that the test-takers have a smooth and fair examination experience.
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