Over a cup of tea, my cousins and I were discussing the repercussions of coronavirus, when a younger one gleefully declared that thanks to the pandemic passing online semester exams was as easy as eating a pie. Soon the discussion turned into an argument when another topper cousin vehemently disagreed with the concept of exams which are just for namesake.
The argument left me in a state of dilemma where I tried to figure out wrong and right in a situation where all perspectives seemed valid. However, after a bit of contemplation and research, the thoughts started to align.
So, looking at the situation and the increasing number of COVID cases, online home based exams seem like the solution right now. From international level exams like GRE to state and university level exams can and are being held in TFH format. However, what makes all the difference are these 4 key factors, which I would like to call FAAS.
- F – Format.
- A – Assessment.
- A – Accessibility.
- S – Security.
Taking test via google form or other free platforms definitely seems like an easy solution but it comes with a bag full of disadvantages. IIM Rohtak recently faced flak when parents and teachers accused the institute of holding ‘compromised’ online entrance exam, where ‘cheating’ was too easy.
On the other hand, following FAAS allows education institutes to conduct fair and well planned online exam.
The first feature of FAAS, which is the format, is the most important. It defines if the proctor test should be of multiple choice type, subjective type, numerical value type, or a mixture of all. An online test with customized features allows the addition of multiple features, making it more convenient for students to take the exam. Whereas, poor quality online exams only function as per a rigid format where, at times, students cannot even move to and for among the questions.
The online home based test is a very newly implemented concept, assessment is one of the most crucial and controversial part of it. While the low quality online test lacks the assessment factor, a well designed test makes room for features like motion detection, eye movement detection, better audio and video quality, etc.
There are relevant companies in the technology space that make this process easy, such as Mercer Mettl, TFH (Test From Home), to name a few. Popularly opted for online proctored exams, these exam tools enable easy conduct of exams and malpractice detection with minimal human intervention. Due to this, the quality of test improves and better assessment can be done.
Coming to accessibility, online test only requires a good internet connection. However, to appear for high quality online exam a student also needs webcam. Some might see it as a drawback but these test can be taken from a computer, mobile phones, or another device. Making it much easier for the students to take the exam.
Security is one important factor which does not seem important until data is compromised. In the era of technology, data is ruling everything, from political elections to cyber and national security. Low grade online exam platforms does not guarantee security as much as a good online exam platform does. The data of the institutes and students is safeguarded better.
To conclude, online exams are the future of entrance and assessment tests. It can be the next big evolution in the global education system, which will increase convenience and pull down budgeting. But this shall only happen if schools and colleges will acknowledge the importance of a well defined proper online exam platforms.