Assessments are an integral component for all RTOs — they’re how we track that students are making progress and keeping up with their courses.
Traditional approaches like pen and paper tests or face-to-face evaluation are currently the go-to choices for most assessors, but as more and more powerful technology emerges, online assessments are proving to be a practical alternative.
Granted, moving from a paper-based environment to a computer-based one can be a tad expensive—depending on the existing infrastructure—but the advantage considerably outweighs the cost.
Having an online assessment system isn't just about giving your students tests to take on a computer—it’s about getting the entire assessment workflow online: competency framework mapping, test authoring, evaluation, and results analysis.
One of the biggest advantages of e-testing is the automated evaluation. If questions are formatted in a way that can be evaluated objectively, computers can quickly take over the tedious scoring process with a next-to-zero error rate, allowing trainers to devote their full attention to assessing the subjective answers. Digital results are stored in the cloud, saving physical space (goodbye, paper!) and eliminating the potential for misplaced files.
Most importantly, advanced analytical tools can be applied to the test results to monitor the students’ progress closely, conducting horizontal comparison within the class or vertical analysis of individual development. These analytical insights can also help trainers offer deep and timely feedback.
Often the biggest roadblocks to the popularisation of online assessments is the fear of cheating, and you may be wondering whether there are substantial measures in place to prevent online assessment fraud.
The answer is a resounding yes.
Cameras and facial recognition tools are reliable ways to verify test takers’ identities, while a cheaper alternative is proctoring. Screen recording is effective against any cheating activity on computers, and keystroke recognition devices could be used to detect abnormal typing, which is often a sign of cheating offline.
Last but not least, moving test authoring into the digital space will let your RTO take advantage of easy competency framework mapping—which is especially helpful in the compliance-heavy environment in which RTOs operate. Making sure that tests are designed per the competency framework enables both trainers and CEOs to double-check the relevancy of their courses. It can also help with assessment validation, with auditors finding fewer issues.
As the pairing technology matures, the practicality and necessity of online assessment will become more and more non-negligible. RTOs should make the shift to online assessment as soon as possible to start delivering exceptional testing services to their students.
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