When deciding which software to choose for your school or university’s online examinations, it can be overwhelming with the number of features offered by each vendor. There seems to be a limitless list!
It’s easy to get distracted by all the shiny features and forget to consider why or how your school would be using them. Is it a necessary feature? We’ll go through essential features when choosing software for online examinations so you can decide with a clear vision of what your school needs.
Know why you are purchasing software for online examinations
It seems obvious, but many schools forget to clearly outline why they are purchasing software for online exams. This is an important step because it gives you more guidance on which features will be non-negotiable and which ones will be nice to have rather than a need to have.
Questions to ask yourself and your colleagues to help you get to your why:
- What are the current challenges around testing as it currently is? Consider the administrative, teacher, and student perspectives.
- What do you want your school to achieve through digital testing?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’re ready to start thinking about features and talking to vendors.
The need-to-have features in software for online examinations
It is easy to get carried away with what everyone feels is a NEED to have for a platform. However, that leaves you with a long list of features that your school might not need at that moment and they never end up getting used.
There are three distinct feature categories,
- Crucial features you need to test as normal
- Features that are not needed to test but are helpful or would add significant value
- Features that are nice to have but are not needed to operate and do not add significant value
We will focus on the first category.
The ability to function without an internet connection
It is vital to have an online examination platform that runs entirely offline to ensure no student answers or progress is lost. If you have an online examination platform that requires an internet connection, you risk overloading and crashing your server when too many people try to connect simultaneously.
To ensure a positive exam experience for students and teachers, use software for online exams that functions without an internet connection.
Ease of use
It may sound like a quality more than a feature, but we would like you to consider it as one. Ease of use is critical to the success and adoption of the online exam system throughout your school. A tool that is easy to use will make it easier and faster to implement in the entire school.
Have ease of use top of mind when assessing platforms. Select a platform that you and your stakeholders feel confident will be used consistently and seamlessly in the classroom.
Support is a feature, so don’t forget to ask about it.
What support is offered by each software? Do they only support you during the setup and onboarding phase? Do they offer support throughout your entire time with them? Do they have a robust help center? Is the help center all they offer? Can you talk to a human?
Lots of questions to ask when it comes to support!
It’s important to ask because if you find yourself in a situation where you need fast support, for example, if you need to test students but the test is not loading, you need the option to reach out to your testing platform to help you resolve the issue quickly. So make sure some type of support is included as a feature.
To sum it all up
The features we covered are essential ones that are easily overlooked during the buying process. Of course, you will need to have certain question types for your exams, be able to proctor them effectively and grade with feedback. These features, however, are typically a given for online examination software. Just don’t forget about the reliability of the software when it comes to an internet connection, the ease of use for teachers and students, and continued support as features.
Feel free to reach out to us at Digiexam to discuss your online examination needs!