Computer-based testing can bring benefits to education by offering on-demand testing, quicker turnaround of results, better and authentic item types and improved security. As far back as 2004, Ken Boston (then head of the Qualifications & Curriculum Authority) said that e-assessment would touch the lives of everyone. However, in 2011 that's not yet the case.
While technology is used in marking, and collation/distribution of results, it is still not very prevalent in the students' exam room. So why are we reluctant to abandon pen-and-paper tests?
In terms of high-stakes examinations it is important, says Group Chief Executive Simon Lebus, to ensure that tests are 'fit for purpose' and used to measure subject knowledge, not students' ICT skills. Speaking earlier this year, he commented: “It's no idea having the technology right if we haven’t got the ideology and philosophy right. In fact, we should only ever switch where high stake e-assessment is more effective than pen and paper.”
Simon predicts that over the next 10-15 years, the UK will continue to see a migration, albeit a slow one, towards e-assessment in high stakes examinations, with different subjects migrating at different paces.
To find out more, watch our short video below.