Online exams are here to stay

– Examinations and the Role of Technology: Emerging Directions”, an initiative by MeritTrac, a research report published by EDGE-ValueNotes, gives a big thumbs up for technology in exams from both students and universities
– Comprehensive survey covering over 75 university VCs/Registrars/Controllers of Examination (CoE) and 400-odd students across the country
– 77% of all VCs/Registrars/CoEs indicated that they are considering introducing online examinations, and 68% of these respondents indicated that they would do this in the next 6-36 months.
– 69% of all students, particularly those from Tier III cities, felt that universities that conduct online exams were more technically advanced

 

To download a complimentary copy of the report, please follow this link

 

March 2010: The problems faced by students in completing the entrance test for the Indian Institutes of Management, also known as the Common Admission Test (CAT), in 2009 brought the issue of online exams into focus. Amidst all the brouhaha surrounding this particular instance, the earlier successful attempts by other institutes were overlooked. The fact that technology is the way forward, in education as well, is not contested, yet it was difficult for sceptics to look beyond CAT-2009 that faced problems. We set out to examine and record the opinions of the stakeholders in the higher education segment, comprising exam authorities and students.

 

India’s first-ever comprehensive research report to understand the future of examinations, the EDGE-ValueNotes report titled ‘Examinations and the Role of Technology: Emerging Directions’, endeavors to look at the issues associated with traditional paper-pencil examinations and the potential benefits of leveraging technology to deliver such exams. The report provides insights into the awareness, perception, readiness and experience of key stakeholders in Indian higher education with respect to technology solutions to assessment, primarily online examinations. The study was based on an exhaustive, countrywide survey of more than 75 key decision makers including vice chancellors, exam controllers, university registrars, academic experts, etc.

 

“It was heartening to note that decision makers are not only aware of the benefits of using technology for assessments, but they have also indicated positive intent with regards to implementation of online assessment,” says Dr Arun Nigavekar, Former Chairman, UGC and member MeritTrac Education Advisory Panel.

 

The study also included a student perception survey – covering 400 students across several Tier I, II & III cities – to understand how students felt about online exams. The survey indicated that students too were positively inclined towards online examinations, despite concerns being raised by skeptics on their behalf. Interestingly, the supposedly less technology-enabled students in the Tier III cities were the most positive about such exams.

 

“Despite the recent issues in online testing, universities still believe in the positive impact of technology, though they are more concerned about the implementation. Considering there is still a lot of groundwork to be done, the penetration of online exams will increase by 5 -10% in the next two years. However, given the greater levels of experimentation and innovation in the assessment space, we believe that there will be significant traction over the next three to five years,” feels Arun Jethmalani, Managing Director, ValueNotes.

 

Some interesting insights from the survey of university officials are:

  • 52% of all VCs/Registrars/COEs interviewed indicated that they were interested in the concept of using technology in exams, 15% were in the experimentation stage and 15% had already begun.
  • 77% of all VCs/Registrars/COEs indicated that they were considering introducing online examinations and 68% of these respondents indicated that they would do this in the next 6-36 months.
  • Decision makers largely believed that technology solutions could mitigate some of the immense challenges we faced, and the level of awareness on the potential of technology was quite high.
  • The top three priorities in exam management were faster results, greater transparency, and student authentication/higher security. Respondents said these would have the most impact on their decision to go online.
  • Infrastructure, suitability of the test format and equating between multiple-batches of exams emerged as the top three perceived challenges with almost 60% of the respondents referring to them.
  • Some respondents were also worried about students from rural areas, who may not have access to computers at all, and may face difficulty in adopting this.

 

On the perceptions of the students:

  • An overwhelming majority of students (95%) were aware of online assessments, and this was consistent even in Tier III cities.
  • The majority of students (69%) felt that universities that conduct online exams were more technically advanced – especially students originating from Tier III cities.
  • Majority of students considered the online process to be more accurate and secure, compared to traditional methods.
  • Transparency of processes and convenience were the main perceived benefits, though students were concerned about the difficulty of usage of online exams, and lack of support from exam authorities.

 

“This report will help catalyze the change that is needed in examination processes. At MeritTrac, we have always strived to bring scalable technology for examinations and this will help us address the key concerns in a structured manner,” says Madan Padaki, CEO of MeritTrac. This report is an initiative by MeritTrac, in association with Excelsoft.

 

To download a complimentary copy of the report, please follow this link

 

About ValueNotes

ValueNotes is a leading provider of business intelligence and research, with expertise across industries, particularly in financial services, media, engineering, healthcare, IT and the outsourcing industry. We have built strong capabilities in the collection, interpretation and analysis of data – both qualitative and quantitative. www.valuenotes.biz

The ValueNotes Sourcing Practice is one of the largest information providers on the outsourcing industry. The Practice uses a comprehensive, analytical framework providing fresh insights into the fast emerging and yet, complex outsourcing space. We extensively track the space through regular analysis of news and events, continuous primary research and contact with the industry. Additional information is available at
www.SourcingNotes.com

 

About MeritTrac

MeritTrac is India’s largest testing and skills assessment company, which provides innovative examination process and assessment solutions to educational institutions, government / PSU sector and leading corporate entities. The company is the first firm from India to be admitted as a full-member of the Association of Test Publishers (ATP), US – one of the prestigious associations of test publishing companies. MeritTrac is an investee company of Manipal Education. Additional information is available at http://www.merittrac.com/

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