Is Your Exam a Good Candidate for Computer-Based Testing?

computer based testing

Digital transformation has long been on the horizon for testing providers and certification entities, but the global pandemic has hastened planning for the digital future. As evaluators navigate terra incognita in the virtual testing environment, many have recognized the imperative of protecting exam integrity in a remote setting — particularly for high-stakes assessments like licensure and board examinations.

Remote Exam Integrity Is Non-Negotiable

Preserving assessment integrity is a top concern for organizations that administer examinations to award credentials, grant licensure, or provide prerequisite testing for programs with competitive admission. Exams like these serve as the gateway to professional opportunities and career attainment, and exam security provides assurance that future professionals meet the required standards of practice.

High-Stakes Assessment Is Going Digital

Rather than postponing exam dates for the return of a pre-pandemic “normal,” many organizations are reassessing their testing methods and reimagining high-stakes exams for the digital age. In the past year, providers of admissions tests have added remote testing options for their examinations, including the GRE and GMAT, while some certification and licensing bodies have announced plans to use computer-based testing for future exams.

Is It Time to Digitize Your Exam?

The decision to digitize high-stakes exams for remote delivery comes with several considerations. Organizations that administer certification, licensing, and placement exams remotely want to ensure flexibility and equity of access for exam-takers, employ rigorous security measures to protect exam integrity, and provide a reliable exam experience, consistent with that of an in-person exam.

With the help of a digital assessment solution, your organization can successfully achieve exam flexibility, reliability, and security. But those are just a few of the benefits that result from the switch to computer-based testing.

Achieve More with Digital Assessment

Learn how computer-based testing can help your organization reap the benefits of digital transformation:

Time and Cost Saved in Exam Creation

One of the advantages of computer-based testing is the ability to eliminate printing costs. In Experiences from Large-Scale Computer-Based Testing in the USA, Educational Testing Service’s Brent Bridgeman notes that printing test booklets and answer sheets can be a major expense for providers, not to mention the cost of mailing exam materials to and from the testing center.

computer based testing graphic

Implementing a digital assessment solution can also significantly expedite the grading process. Veterinary Specialty Exams is a consultancy that helps board-certification exam providers digitize paper-based exams with ExamSoft. In 2012, the consultancy worked with the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation to transition its written specialty exam to a digital format. The digital exam results were available instantly in the ExamSoft portal for review. Grading that had taken weeks to complete was done in a matter of hours, and the exam committee was able to pass grades along to governing boards within a few days.

Exam-Day Efficiencies for All Stakeholders

Exam administrators and exam-takers alike can experience the benefits of computer-based testing. Remote exam technologies are designed to provide the same level of security achieved by a live exam session. By implementing these technologies, organizations can save the costs of hiring live proctors and booking a testing center with the infrastructure to support a large exam session.

Savings in proctoring and venue costs result in fewer administrative fees needed to deliver an exam session, which can make testing more affordable for exam-takers. Remote proctoring technologies provide flexibility for exam-takers to test at home on their personal devices, which saves the time and cost of traveling to a testing center. With fewer logistical details to worry about, exam-takers may even experience less test anxiety for improved performance.

ExamID and ExamMonitor, ExamSoft’s auto-identity verification tool and remote proctoring software, can help organizations eliminate the costs associated with in-person exams while protecting exam integrity in a remote environment.

Security Tools to Preserve Exam Integrity

Certification and licensure exams help determine whether a candidate is qualified to practice in a given field, so the integrity of these exams is essential. Safeguarding exam content from academic dishonesty is tantamount to preserving the integrity of your organization and upholding the value of the credential your exam provides.

ExamSoft combines the efficiencies of digital assessment with advanced security features to preserve academic integrity in any testing environment, both in person and remote. Complete device control prevents access to external programs, screensavers, documents, and web browsers — everything but the test itself — while an exam is in session. Additional solutions available through ExamSoft further enhance exam security; ExamID and ExamMonitor work together to verify exam-taker identity and flag potential instances of academic dishonesty.

Valuable Insights with Data and Reporting

With every exam you administer, there is an opportunity to analyze performance data and generate reports that reveal valuable assessment insights. With a digital assessment platform, exam creators can organize exam content by competencies, skill areas, and educational objectives. By tagging items to specific categories, organizations can observe trends in performance among exam-takers and provide topical feedback for those who will need to retest.

When it comes to identifying ways to improve the efficacy of your exam, psychometric analysis can be a useful tool. Using metrics like point biserial as well as discrimination and difficulty indexes, exam administrators can determine the quality of items on an exam. By measuring whether an item is the appropriate level of difficulty, these metrics can identify items that may need to be rewritten or removed altogether. These measurements add to the value of your exam content and any credential it confers.

Reliable Assessments in Any Environment

Whether administering a digital assessment in-person or remotely, weak WiFi connectivity can negatively impact an exam session. If exam-takers have a set time limit in which to complete an assessment, interruptions may detract from exam-takers’ performance and even prevent them from completing an assessment in time.

Interruptions to WiFi connectivity can be difficult to predict, but ExamSoft’s offline assessment mode helps ensure that there are no surprises on exam day. The offline mode only requires internet to download the exam file prior to the exam session and upload the file once the exam is complete. With offline assessment enabled, organizations can promote an equitable exam experience for all exam-takers, including those who live in rural areas where internet access may be limited.

Opportunities for Flexibility and Scalability

For high-stakes exams with a growing number of registrants, it can be difficult to gather enough resources to satisfy the demand. A larger pool of candidates may require organizations to book a larger testing center, and when an exam session becomes large enough, live proctoring can be difficult.

A digital assessment solution with options for secure, remote testing allows organizations to deliver exams from any location, while serving more exam-takers than can be accommodated in a single venue. By investing in a computer-based testing software, you can equip your organization with the tools it needs to administer exams effectively, no matter the modality. ExamSoft’s flexible platform allows you to prepare your exams for the unexpected, whether that means accommodating a record number of registrants or making a quick pivot to a remote testing.

Begin Your Digital Transformation with ExamSoft

With ExamSoft’s end-to-end solution for exam creation, administration, and analysis, your organization can deliver flexible, remote assessments, ensure a reliable testing experience for exam-takers and safeguard valuable exam content with advanced security features.

Are you ready to get started? Request a demo today.


The State News: COVID-19 Changes Graduate Admissions Exams

ABA Journal: Big Changes for Bar Exam Suggested by NCBE Task Force

Joint Research Center: The Transition to Computer-Based Assessment

ExamSoft: Robert Malinowski, Veterinary Specialty Exams

EmergingEdTech: 7 Advantages Digital Assessments Have over Paper Tests and Exams

ExamSoft Infographic: Psychometrics at a Glance

Published: February 8, 2022

Updated: July 18, 2023

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