Advantages of online examinations
The covid-19 pandemic caused costly pen and paper exams to quickly become obsolete and inaccessible, forcing educational institutions to rethink in-person learning and move to the online learning sphere. However, the online exam is here to stay - even after the pandemic has ended - due to the many advantages it holds over in-person, pen and paper, and physical examinations.
One of the biggest, yet indirect advantages of online examination is the reduced impact on the environment. Pen and paper examinations not only require a lot of paper to print question and answer sheets, but it also requires the students and educators to be physically present, potentially resulting in an increased carbon footprint from the logistics of getting to and from the examination location.
Since everything is online, there are no associated printing or logistics costs. Educational institutions will also be able to save money on examination facilities and a reduced number of facilitators and invigilators to proctor the exam. While an online exam will still require some expenses such as administration, online proctoring, and IT support, it’s dramatically less than that of a pen and paper exam.
Online exams not only save time for students by reducing the time it takes to write the exam and eliminating the time it takes to travel to and fro the examination location, but the educators also benefit greatly from the online setting and the features of the technology (such as automatic grading, reusing old test templates, etc.)
For pen and paper examinations, the more people who will write the exam, the bigger the challenge to facilitate it. In comparison, an online examination system is very easy to scale. Setting up an exam for 10 or 1,000 students takes almost the same amount of time and effort.
Security is and always has been a challenge with exams, especially with more high-stakes exams such as bar exams, SATs, or college/university final exams. While an online examination system is not perfect, they solve a majority of the challenges with cheating. There are fewer risks of leaks since there are no physical papers, randomly selected questions from questions banks can be utilized, and features such as device lockdown, automated proctoring, ID verification, and credibility reports ensure high exam integrity.
Last but not least, online exams are convenient for everyone. Educators can create and re-use old shared templates from their colleagues, use automatic grading, as well as co-grade with colleagues. Students can select exam times that suit them best and since the exams are online, do it from pretty much anywhere (proctored exams may have some requirements). Students can also get their results almost instantaneously.