Latest Trends and Developments in Online Assessments
The pandemic in 2020 has changed the way we teach and learn. Schools continue to close and reopen in many parts of the world, demanding alternatives for instructional continuity. This has drawn considerable investments in modernizing and digitizing the educational systems. A wide range of digital tools is emerging to support learning and assessment for enhancing learning outcomes.
Neha Nougai, Presales Consultant, Excelsoft asks; What does it mean for online assessments in the near future?
The online exam software market size was valued at USD 5.3 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 11 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 9.01% from 2021 to 2028. Beyond what LMSs have traditionally offered, external digital assessments are increasingly being adopted. Significant developments in computer-based testing are redefining the assessment potential. It would be helpful for practitioners, decision-makers, researchers, and system developers to identify trends in the characteristics of online assessment systems to select or create them effectively.
Emerging trends in online assessments
• Formative assessments are rising and becoming more interactive
With the necessity of early feedback and student remediation, digital tools are increasingly used over analog methods to create and deploy assessments faster. Educators prefer to create exams with various types of questions such as multiple-choice questions, fill-in-the-blanks, match the columns, essay type, Likert scale, image labeling, etc. Multimedia, like audio, images, video, etc., is included to make assessments more engaging.
• Assessments are becoming more candidate-centric
There is a trend toward more actionable assessment data from which insights can be drawn. Rather than imposing rigid standards to evaluate students’ competencies, educators are tailoring assessments to students’ responses to personalize learning. Using technology tools, teachers can simplify and shorten the feedback loop to drive their instruction. Platforms are incorporating Item Response Theory (IRT) based question and test calibration. This allows educators to appraise student performance using metrics such as depth of knowledge level, skills, guessing factor, and more.
• There is a greater emphasis on inclusivity
With a growing concern for accessible education, there has been an increased focus on making assessments more diverse, inclusive, and fair. By utilizing assistive technologies, test platforms are becoming more accessible to users with various needs, challenges, and disabilities. Some important ways to make the test interface perceptible to users are to provide text alternatives for non-text content, to make the content easier to see and hear, to provide different input modalities beyond the keyboard, and to provide multilingual support.
• Traditional assessment delivery is being phased out
Institutes are no longer dependent only on pen and paper-based delivery. Although there has been a slow transition back to physical spaces, educators are well aware of the advantages of online proctoring. Many have adopted a blended or online assessment delivery model, allowing educators to monitor the candidate test progress remotely. Proctors can see students’ live webcam feed and on-screen activities, e.g., navigation, click activity, etc. Latest remote proctoring platforms offer features like an AI anti-cheat engine, lockdown browser, etc., to ensure the sanctity of the exam.
• AI for auto-marking is becoming popular
Educators are increasingly using the auto-marking function of online assessment platforms, which frees up significant time for instruction. In addition to scoring multiple-choice or short-form questions, these platforms use AI to grade longer answers and written work, making auto-marking an indispensable platform function.
Digital tools are becoming more readily available to support instruction and assessment. Since the adoption of online assessments has been soaring, it is crucial to stay abreast of new advances and trends in eAssessments to use them effectively.