handheld computer

Computer-Based Assessment

A Computer-Based Assessment (CBA), also know as Computer-Based Testing (CBT), e-exam, computerized testing and computer-administered testing, is a method of administering tests in which the responses are electronically recorded, assessed, or both. As the name implies, Computer-Based Assessment makes use of a computer or an equivalent electronic device (i.e. handheld computer). CBA systems enables educators and trainers to author, schedule, deliver, and report on surveys, quizzes, tests and exams.

Computer-Based Assessment may be a stand-alone system or a part of a virtual learning environment, possibly accessed via the World Wide Web.

General advantages of Computer-Based Assessment (CBA) systems over traditional Pen-and-Paper Testing (PPT) have been demonstrated in several comparative works and includes: increased delivery, administration and scoring efficiency; reduced costs for many elements of the testing lifecycle; improved test security resulting from electronic transmission and encryption; consistency and reliability; faster and more controlled test revision process with shorter response time; faster decision-making as the result of immediate scoring and reporting; unbiased test administration and scoring; fewer response entry and recognition errors; fewer comprehension errors caused by the testing process; improved translation and localization with universal availability of content; new advanced and flexible item types; increased candidate acceptance and satisfaction; evolutionary step toward future testing methodologies.

In addition to traditional testing approaches carried out in a paper-pencil mode, there are a variety of aspects needed to be taken into account when computer-based assessment (CBA) is deployed, such as software quality, secure delivery, reliable network (if Internet-based), capacities, support, maintenance, software costs for development and test delivery, including licences. Any of the delivery modes, whether Paper-Pencil and/or computer-based, comprises advantages and challenges which can hardly be compared, especially in relation to estimated costs. The use of CBA includes additional benefits which can be achieved from an organisational, psychological, analytical and pedagogical perspective. Many experts agree on the overall added value and advantages of e-testing in large scale assessments.

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