A lot of questions have been recently raised on computer-based exams in parallel with the President’s announcement of implementing them all over Egypt. This is why we have decided to end the year 2019 by dedicating this article to answer all your questions on this issue.
Read our article on “Computer-Based Tests: 4 Challenges Facing Egyptian Universities.”
1. What Are the Computer-Based Exams?
Computer-based exams are done using a program or a system that automates the processes of test creation, students taking the test, grading it, and getting its results and reports.
The Ministry of Higher Education in Egypt is making rapid strides to apply the testing system called “knowledge tests,” which will determine students’ qualification to join labor market in all of Egypt. This is an important step towards changing the testing system in general in all fields.
According to Alwatan news website, the President stated—in his meeting last week with Dr. Moustafa Madbouly, the Prime Minister, Dr. Khaled Abdel Ghafar, the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, and Dr. Amr Talaat, the Minister of Communication & Information Technology—that it is necessary to quickly take all preparations needed to apply the new computer-based exams system.
Moreover, he confirmed that training work teams and qualified cadres will enable us to well manage computer-based exams laboratories “in order to avoid human errors made in traditional exams system and reach the highest levels of quality in the educational process using international standards suitable for Egyptian faculties and universities.”
2. How Do Computer-Based Exams Look and Can We Try Them?
Computer-based exams have many forms that differ according to the type of their system or program, like Qorrect, which is now adopted at Al-Qasr Al-Ainy and the Faculty of Economic and Political Science, Cairo University. You will be able to have a free trial account or demo at any time from Qorrect’s official website.
3. How Do Qorrect’s Computer-Based Exams Work? What Are Their Features?
The user, or in this case the university Professor, using Qorrect is able to create balanced exams that match the learning objectives, covering the whole curriculum, and get reports on students’ academic performance as well.
So How Does It Work?
- Qorrect allows you to make multiple test forms and questions for the same exam using different types of questions, e.g., MRQs, matching, fill-in-the-blanks, ordering, true/false, and short-answer questions.
One of the most important features of Qorrect assessment system is its ability to assess essay questions using direct grading—if you would like more details on essay questions grading, you will find them here in our article “Can a Computer-Based Assessment Grade Essay Questions?”
- It allows students of the same faculties in different universities, throughout Egypt, to start the exam at the same time.
- Qorrect also allows them to take exams using several platforms: computer, mobile, tablet, or even paper (to be entered into the system later on by a scanner).
- The system grades tests and produces different reports on the results within a few minutes only.
4. Computer-Based Tests vs. Paper Ones
Computer-based tests reduce students’ pressure and stress and save them from spending their time worrying about results. They also allow them to trust that their tests will be fairly graded.
Consequently, this will give them the opportunity to keep up with advanced education in other countries, develop good personal and academic skills, learn different languages, and open up to the world and all new advents.
Moreover, this gives them time to take courses in their specialized fields, in order to help build their future.
Besides, many see that these exams will ease the way to get academic accreditation. This means that students will be qualified to work anywhere without having to study again.
As for college professors, training them on computer-based exams frees up their time spent in exam creation and grading. They will now be able to use their time on gaining professional advancement, something that never stops at any certain age (read “How to Help Students Choose the Right Career Path”).
Such advancement is not limited to answering the Egyptian and international labor market. It also covers the beginning of changing the whole educational process—part of the state’s educational plan.
We do this in order to let go of traditional education and assessment and reduce pressure on Egyptian universities and professors, something that will add to the value of our human resources in the near future.
5. What Do Students Think about Computer-Based Exams?
Research Gate published a research, last year, titled “Students’ Perceptions of Paper-Based vs. Computer-Based Testing in an Introductory Programming Course,” in which two groups of students were surveyed about their preferences of computer-based exams.
In the research, the students said the following:
- I prefer writing on computer.
- I can copy and paste anything on computer.
- The teacher understands what I want to express and write more on computer.
- Computer-based exams do not allow for tolerance—for example, regarding the time of the exams.
6. How Do We Discuss Applying these Exams with Our Students?
We can approach the matter of implementing these types of exams with students by giving them a chance to try them by themselves. This is doable by having monthly trial tests using the system, in order to eradicate any fears towards it.
Furthermore, professors may encourage open discussions on them during lectures in order to recognize the challenges or fears students face and answer all their questions.