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Multiple-Choice Assessment Software For Education

Multiple-Choice Assessment Software For Education

Multiple-choice assessment software is great when it comes to saving time with grading time and reporting, but some thought should go into the choice of which kind would be more easily used and adapted by the people in your institution. The set up and ease of use of these kinds of software have their own implications which should be carefully considered.

Computer-based online assessments.

If you are looking for an easier and automatic way of creating and marking multiple-choice assessments as part of computer-based assessment then a learning management system is a good choice. With experience these types of assessments can be easy to use by students and the assessments don’t have to be printed on paper before hand. The exam’s results are available immediately after the test has been taken and the storage of questions, past results and student profiles are all kept in the one place. Many educational institutions are now using this method of assessing students and many have found it to be beneficial, but it sometimes has it’s drawbacks such as the cost of setting up the number of computers needed to perform such assessments including extra computers needed in case any break down. Time is needed for making sure every computer is in working order and connected to the internet just before the assessment takes place, which could cause disruptions to assessment timetables.

If a number of students are taking the test at the same time powerful servers will be needed to cope with the amount of information being entered into the system and another complication would be created if there was ever a power outage or a server went down during the assessment. Cheating has always been a problem with any educational assessments therefore the set up of the computer room is important so that no student can see another student’s computer screen. From past experiences with paper-based assessments, known ways of cheating can be avoided by using certain rules in the examination room to try and overcome the problem, but because computer-based assessments are a relatively new application, some students will always be trying to outsmart the rules of the examination room, especially if the teacher isn’t as computer confident and familiar as some of them may be. Some students may also have an unfair advantage if they are more confident with computers than other students. Computer-based assessment systems can also be expensive to set up and maintain, with many support contracts starting from 5,000 dollars per year.

OMR Automatically Marked Paper-Based Assessments.

Traditional paper-based multiple-choice assessments which are then automatically marked using Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) is a much less expensive process to set up. In fact when OMR software is used, your existing computer, printer and scanner can be used to design, print and scan the assessment papers as well as automatically mark them. Using OMR Software the assessment papers can be designed with traditional question / answer layout or with separate sheets for questions and response sheets. Cheating by copying from other students can be avoided by using banks of questions randomly taken and reordered when the forms are printed. No student has an unfair advantage over any other student or the teacher as it is more likely that each student has always done assessments this way therefore feel comfortable with the process.

There is always a hard copy of the exam paper for any inquiries into the results given and the time it takes to grade the papers can still be almost instantaneous, although the speed of the processing of results would depend on the speed of your scanner. Other advantages of Optical Mark Recognition Software is, it has a high accuracy rate when it comes to the automatic marking of multiple-choice tests and only a small amount of training and experience is needed to understand how the whole process works. The assessments can be performed in any class room without having to schedule the computer assessment room and if there were any power cuts or computer failures, the examination wouldn’t be interrupted.

About the Author:

Roland Quast is the developer of FormReturn OMR Assessment Software – an application that aims to make Optical Mark Recognition simple to use for teachers and assessors.