Digital tests

Digital tests are tests which are conducted via a computer. Digital tests systems make it possible to create, take and analyze a test via the computer. They can be used for testing prior knowledge (entry test), as an exercise for the student (interim tests) and for exams (final test).

Virtually all digital test programs are structured as follows:

  1. A module for designing questions (teacher)
  2. A module to conduct tests (student)
  3. A module for analyzing test results (teacher)
  • Cost savings: it cuts down on printing (paper) and transportation costs.
  • Higher, especially important in case of summative assessment.
  • Automatic scoring and objective scoring to closed questions, which leads to reduced costs because human evaluators are no longer needed.
  • The ability to conduct tests from a large group of students.
  • Time and place independency to take formative tests. The student can choose when and where he takes the test. (Not with summative tests: authentication plays an important role here: is the one who takes the test, actually the one he claims to be.)
  • Increasing efficiency in measurements, means / leads to shorter test times.
  • There is a question database. Questions can be stored in a database so you can easily reuse queries. This can result especially in saving time.
  • A variety of types of question:
    • Use of multimedia (audio, video, etc.) in the questions.
    • ­You can help make students upload a file in response to a question.
    • ­You can design the questions in an interactive manner.
    • ­You have the ability to create innovative types of questions.
  • Variety of test questions per student:
    • ­Randomizing questions from pools: the test is the same for each student, but the order in which questions appear vary by student.
    • ­The difficulty of the questions can be tailored to the skill of the student (the so-called adaptive testing).
  • Feedback options:
    • ­Feedback creates interaction between student and computer.
    • ­Automatic: feedback based on the response of the student.
    • ­Personalized: you send a response to the student.
    • ­The student sees the score with analysis directly after the test was completed.
  • Analysis possibilities:
    • ­You will be informed quickly about the performance of learners.
    • Questions Analysis and test analysis: you can thus understand the quality of the questions and / or if the questions fit the administered test.
  • Giving digital testing sets high standards for the infrastructure. Especially when many multimedia files are used and a group of students are taking a test at the same time, this sets very high standards as regards the performance of the network. In addition, all computers must support the types of multimedia.
  • Developing digital tests requires much time and (ICT and other) knowledge. Not every teacher has this, that is why implementing digital tests is “teamwork.”
  • The creation and modification of a question database is time-consuming.
  • An efficient use of a question database will require continuous administration of the questions database. Teachers need to be make good agreements among each other about this.
  • The system must be adequately protected against abuse:
    • Authentication: is the one who takes the test, actually the one he claims to be.
      This is certainly important in summative tests. When taking this type of tests, there will not be a possibility for choosing time and / or place.
    • Supervisors must prevent trainees from collaborating in an unauthorized way (especially in summative tests).
  • The ICT skills of students is generally not a problem, but we must take into account students who experience difficulties, for example because of a disability.
  • Not all test programs offer all types of questions.
  • Open questions or essay questions can not be checked digitally. You are able to collect the students’ answers via the test software, but you’ll have to check and score  them manually.