Nursing educators have a lot to balance—if only your job was really all about teaching. Instead, all the other little tasks that need to get done add up to overwhelm your to-do list, making the actual teaching part of your job that much harder.
Creating and administering nursing exams can be tedious and time consuming. Writing strong questions with valid answer options, watching over students closely as you administer exams to be on guard for cheating, and then spending hours grading stacks of papers—you know the assessments are important, but it’s hard to feel like every step in the process is a valuable use of your time.
The good news is that an exam software can simplify the whole process. You still have to go through some of the steps—technology can’t write high-quality questions—but you can cut down on the time you spend on many of the steps.
How ExamSoft Simplifies Nursing Exams
Here are five ways that using software to create and administer your exams can make your life easier:
Question Banking Saves You Time on Teacher-Made Exams
How much time do you spend writing questions? ExamSoft provides a question bank in which you can save every question you use so you can easily pull it up when you’re writing a test for next year’s class.
You can also track how well different questions and distractors perform, so you have an easy time figuring out how best to tweak each question to make it stronger between exams. Obviously, a question bank doesn’t remove all the work of exam creation, but over time, as your question bank grows, the exams you write each semester will be that much faster and easier to put together.
Exam Creation Process is Faster and Easier to Organize
Historically, nursing educators have turned to pen and paper for exam creation. However, using a software that is designed specifically for exams—in which every feature and all aspects of the design focus on this one purpose—can only make the assessment creation process easier and more efficient.
ExamSoft lets you work on your exams from whatever device you choose. You can start on your work desktop, keep working on your iPhone on the way home, and then finish things up on your personal laptop while sitting on your living room couch. The software is designed to make putting each element into place intuitive and help you cover all the topics and competencies you intend to.
All of this means less time spent creating, distributing, and grading exams and more time spent focusing on the assessment outcomes.
Tagging Exam Items to Outcomes Simplifies Performance Tracking
By doing just a little extra work during the exam creation process, your assessment analysis will be worlds easier. Tag all your questions with the course-, program-, or NCLEX-specific outcomes you want to measure, and ExamSoft automatically produces reports that show all the assessment data you could possibly need to help your students.
Tagging, or categorizing, your exam items provides you with the data you need to understand which students are struggling in which areas, as well as high-level results that show you what the class as a whole needs. Maybe you need to go ahead and schedule an extra unit on drug classifications, or maybe you just need to provide an extra assignment to the two or three students struggling to get it down. Assessment data will make this easier to figure out.
Exam Administration Is Less Onerous and Can Happen Anywhere
Paper exams have to be carted from the printing office to class. If they’re multiple pages, they have to be properly collated. Then, at the end of the class, they have to be collected and carted to wherever you’ll be grading.
Computer-based exams that work only on a desktop require reserving a computer lab and making sure all your students get there on time.
Computer-based exams that can be taken on student-owned devices can be administered anywhere. ExamSoft blocks every other application on students’ devices so they can access only the exam while they’re taking it. You can trust in the exam security, and your students can use the laptop or tablet they’re most comfortable with. On top of all of this, ExamSoft’s exam application mimics the experience nursing students will have when they take the NCLEX and prepare them for that digital environment.
Grading Is Fast and Standardized
Finally, we reach what is arguably the most tedious task of all: grading exams. ExamSoft completely automates the process for any objective question types (such as multiple-choice questions), but more importantly, it also makes the process of grading essay questions and other subjective assessments easier.
ExamSoft’s Rubrics tool makes it possible to clarify and map out the criteria you want to use for grading in advance and have that information in front of you as you go. You can make notes within the software as you work to provide any specific feedback needed, and you can do your grading from anywhere—on your bus commute, while you’re in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, at home in your pajamas—all without having to keep up with stacks of paper.
Preparing your students to take the NCLEX and to go on to be successful nurses is one of the biggest responsibilities you have—the exams you create play a huge role in getting them there. Approach exam creation, grading, and performance reporting in a way that’s easier, more efficient, and simply more effective for preparing nursing students to successfully reach their goals.