Although digitalized education is the way forward in the innovative technological era, a robust online assessment platform is a must to reap the fruits of digitalization in the education system. This blog will highlight the features of such a platform.
Why do we need an Online Assessment Platform? Why now?
Although the need for a change was always present, it is more prevalent than ever since the demand for transparent and quick reporting on students’ performance has gained significance. The stakeholders are more concerned about the learning outcomes, requiring considerable improvements in the examination and assessment processes. Apart from that, presently, many businesses are employing digital assessment solutions to improvise their hiring process and for employee development through virtual training solutions. Resultantly, a wide range of digital assessment platforms has cropped up to meet the rising demands of academic institutions and the private sector.
To identify the most suitable online assessment platform, the following key features must be taken into account, keeping the specific needs of clients in view:
1. Security Features
A reliable online assessment software should provide effective data security features and robust protection against any breach of security.
a. Safeguard against Unfair & Unethical Means
There should be a strong mechanism to prevent the use of unfair means. The system must be designed such that there is no chance of misuse and cheating. Question banks, marking systems, results, candidates’ data, customers’ data, and the assessment algorithms should be completely safe and secure.
A top-notch online assessment platform should provide end-to-end encryption. The results should not be available to anyone except the authorized individuals including the applicant, or the client for whom the test is being carried out. An administrator should have enough monitoring controls over the individual portals. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has made impressive strides in this area. Webcams, microphones, attention span monitoring algorithms can be employed for this purpose.
b. Transparency and Traceability
A solid security system is of the essence when it comes to ensuring transparency. There should be a certain element of transparency in the system and if need be, it should easily render itself to audit. The system must have the features to maintain all logs and records of all transactions or changes made in the system.
2. Unpredictability and Consistency
The databank must be developed with utmost precision and accuracy, to guarantee coherent and unpredictable test material. The question bank should be a smart design, such that, unless a candidate significantly improves their knowledge through further study or experience, repeated attempts do not improve the candidate’s score. There should be multiple checkpoints for the review of each item to ensure consistency and uniqueness of data.
3. Vast, Varied, and Latest Repository of Testing Material
The system must constantly update its question bank or test material to incorporate the latest techniques and practices applied in that field. In addition to written material, sufficient audio-video test materials must be available to assess oral comprehension and visual acuity related to the field of knowledge.
4. Purposeful & Versatile
The system should be able to conduct evaluations over a wide variety of subjects. The test material must cover the depth and dissemination of a knowledge domain. This will allow clients to evaluate candidates’ abilities and classify them into different ranks of expertise, skills, and knowledge. Rubric-based marking and multiple-tagging of questions should be used for better assessment and evaluation.
The test should not be restricted to the subject matter alone. It should also assess related aspects such as problem-solving skills, critical thinking, logical reasoning, and creativity. The evaluation software should use a variety of testing tools for quizzes, assignments, collaborative project work, presentations, drawings, and sketches.
5. Accurate, Objective, and Prompt Assessment
The system should report the required results, statistics, grades, promptly and accurately with a mechanism to redress if results are challenged. Record of assessment must be maintained for the required period. A certificate may be issued, where desired, with a mechanism to authenticate results. The system should have the ability to identify strong & weak areas of the candidates. In the case of assessment of students, a mechanism for monitoring progress and learning curve must be part of the software, with a mechanism to raise flags in case of declining performance.
6. Sensitivity to Regional Differences
Certain peculiarities are specific to certain regions, languages, and dialects. Depending on the requirements, an online assessment software may have the features to cater to the use of region or domain-specific words or jargon. The system needs to take into account different symbology, abbreviations, terminologies used by the authors and speakers in different domains, industries, occupations, professions, trades, fields, etc. Insofar as possible, the system has the capability to organize the test in multiple languages, which is a plus.
7. User-friendly Interface
The system should have a user-friendly interface so that the user can concentrate on the core subject rather than wasting time navigating the system. It should have features like auto-save, review previously attempted problems, or, pause-and-resume function in case of connection or power outage. Sample tests should be easily available to candidates for guidance and practice.
Clients should be able to extensively customize the online assessments as per their requirements through a simple drag-and-drop interface. The following may be customizable:
- Subject matter – topics, sub-topics, sub-sub-topics.
- Type of questions i.e., MCQs, subjective questions, numerical problems, simulations, sketches, diagrams, coding simulations, etc.
- Tags: Aptitude to be assessed i.e., logical reasoning, critical thinking, problem-solving skills, etc.
- Customized report i.e., Format of result required, marks, grading, ranking of candidates, area of expertise wise result, etc.
- Access to real-time progress of students, trainees, or candidates.
- Language: The language for the software interface and the online assessment should be customizable.
- Administrative controls: There should be controls like audit trail reporting and removing people from online meetings or classrooms when need be.
In investments, cost often plays a deciding role. The assessment platform must be economical in terms of both cost and time. Results must be available either instantly or in a short time as desired by the customer. Various pricing options should be available for the customer to best suit their needs.
10. Requirement of Minimal Bandwidth and Processing Capacity
The system should take minimal bandwidth making it available in areas where the Internet speed is slow and accessible to those having platforms facing limited processing power. One way for the program to do so is through optimizing itself to work with different resolutions. It must cater to all commonly used devices (PCs, Mac, Tabs, Mobile devices, etc.). The system must have 24×7 availability.
11. Record Keeping and Data Analysis
The system should have a mechanism to analyze the results over time and correlate assessment to the performance of successful candidates. The system should also carry out an analysis of the performance of the candidates to assess the suitability of testing material, effectiveness of the testing mythology, and efficiency of the testing platform.
The system should update its database of questions or test material to incorporate the latest techniques and practices applied in that field. In addition to written material, sufficient audio-video testing material should be made available to access listening comprehension and visual acuity related to the knowledge area.
Regardless of the whistles and bells of a system, the most essential feature of an online assessment platform is its ability to accurately report students’ performance in the subject that they are being assessed for. Likewise, a quality online assessment software will grade students on their understanding of the subject.
In light of the aforementioned features, it is important to choose an online assessment platform that meets the needs of both the assessors and the assessee. Switching to an online assessment platform is not only necessary owing to the Covid-19 dilemma, but it is also a positive move towards catching up with the times and keeping up with the world’s digital progressions.
If you wish to know more about why shifting to online assessments is important, check our blog: 6 reasons why switching to digital assessments is crucial.