Despite the importance of online assessment in education, modern-day education system has witnessed years of reluctance to adopt it. If we look at the way examinations are conducted and compare with the past, not much difference can be made out.
For years, the adoption of online assessments in the education sector faced several obstacles. One of the significant obstacles was at the policy level as the examination boards made it compulsory for students to appear for the pen-paper examination.
As the COVID-19 pandemic spread globally, the functioning of the traditional education system became increasingly difficult. It paved the way for the much-needed overhaul in the educational and examination system with the help of technology.
The Oxford and Cambridge universities announced to replace their summer exams with online assessments due to the pandemic. Also, the US-based Educational Testing Service offered to conduct at-home tests using human invigilators online for the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) and the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
In a push towards digital education in India, the HRD ministry allowed the top 100 Indian universities to start online degree courses automatically from 30th May 2020.
As more and more schools, colleges, universities, and other private educational institutions are adopting online education and examination systems, they are experiencing the immense benefits, first-hand.
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Advantages of online assessments in the education sector
Online assessments offer several benefits to educational institutions, academicians, and students alike.
These include the elimination of geographical barriers, high flexibility & accessibility, ease of administration, quick processes, automated marking, cost savings, cheating prevention, scaling, and inclusiveness.
Let’s take an insight into the top advantages, which will have long-standing and high-impact effects on education.
A shift in mind-set
The cumbersome, expensive, and time-consuming traditional examination system has made performance in a standardized test as the fundamental for academic achievement. Resultantly, the design of the educational system has altered to adapt to instruction that helps students achieve more marks in exams rather than attempting to make their fundamental learning concepts clear.
The importance of online assessment in education lies in the fact that it is an effective tool to shift the academic focus from exam-centric to learning-centric instruction.
Since creating online assessments is quick and easy using advanced hi-tech online assessment tools, educators can assess the students frequently to understand their strengths and weaknesses. They can then use such parameters to design teaching instructions for maximum effectiveness.
Improved focus on students’ needs
The fundamental task of educators is to impart student-centric quality education by interacting fruitfully with students to ignite their imagination, inspire hope, and instill a love for learning. However, with the traditional education and examination system, teachers usually find themselves burdened with administrative activities.
It has also contributed to the shift from student-centric to test-centric instruction. It is essential to bring the teachers’ focus back to the students, and here is where the importance of online assessment in education is evident.
With the help of online assessments, academicians save a lot of time while creating a variety of tests timely, quickly, and accurately. Online assessment tools also facilitate the automated evaluation of MCQ and objective tests. They also have in-built advanced analytics that produces electronic reports.
Such automation of time-consuming administrative tasks helps educators focus on their students’ development.
Continuous performance improvement of students
Educational institutions adopt a formative assessment method, which includes periodic class tests meant to identify the learning outcomes of students and identify their weaknesses. The teachers then alter their instructions to help students improve their learning.
But with traditional pen-paper tests, creating and evaluating assessments is time-consuming, and an additional burden to the educator.
Online assessments are ideal for the formative assessment method. They can help educators make the most of this exercise and also benefits students as they get instant feedback, which is more effective.
Quick feedback gives students the time to plan further studies and focus on their areas of improvement. The fast turn around time of online assessments allows them to appear for more tests within the same time frame.
Future-readiness of students
While online assessments may be relatively new for the education sector, the business community, particularly enterprises, have long recognized and embraced their benefits for evaluating job applicants.
Candidates, especially freshers, must clear a variety of online assessments aimed at evaluating their technical skills, domain knowledge, personality traits, communication skills, etc. depending on the job position applied.
People with no prior online assessment experience could get overwhelmed by such end-to-end digital recruitment processes. But if education institutions offer online assessments within the academic examination system, they are likely to outperform in online job evaluations.
It is a positive indication that more and more education institutions are understanding the importance of online assessments in education and embracing them.
Online assessments are not just the quick-fix for the current situation, but they are the future of the education and examination system. They can bring about the much-needed positive advancements in the entire education sector.
The technological disruption in the education sector is already underway. Now, it is only a matter of how quickly educational institutes understand the importance of online assessments in education and utilize the right assessments in the right way at the right time for their benefit as well as for the benefit of their students.
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