Though the popularity of classroom teaching was dipping for long, the entire world discovered the perks of online teaching after the pandemic arrived. It kickstarted a new era of virtual education driven by technology and helped students overcome several barriers through continuous innovations made in this field.
Assessments are a crucial component of any learning module, and as such, many educational institutions have had to switch to online examinations to evaluate their students remotely and understand how well they have learned. Online exam management technology has existed for over a decade now, helping many institutes conduct assessments online. However, many were still unaware of their existence, advantages, and types until 2020.
This blog will uncover what an exam management system means, what it comprises of, how it helps students and institutions, and why it will be necessary for virtual assessments in 2021 and beyond. So let us start by understanding what an online exam management system is.
What is an Exam Management System?
An online exam management system allows educators/institutions to conduct and manage various expects of virtual assessments. Exam management solutions are designed to educational institutions help plan, conduct, invigilate and evaluate online assessments using software and proctoring technologies.
The most important purpose of an exam management system is to bring the entire offline evaluation online and simplify the process of conducting evaluations. Online exam management software help evaluators define examination patterns, add sections for different question types, allot timings per question, and conduct exams using digital devices. They help institutions go paperless while offering more storage than ever.
Importance of Online Exam Management Software
Online exam management systems enable institutions to reach out to more students by overcoming geographic boundaries. Besides being a scalable and cost-effective way to conduct evaluations, they also improve how examinations are managed and provide accurate and quick results.
Typically, an exam management system is very easy to use and allows examiners to simultaneously create exams for many students. They take very little time to set up and can be automated, allowing faculties to focus more on researching and spend less time fine-tuning assessment specifics. Modern exam management software also offers human and AI-based invigilation apart from automated candidate and question-paper sorting functionalities. Additionally, most online exam management software have provision from human and automated evaluations
Advantages of Using Online Exam Management Systems
Using an online exam management system offers several benefits over paper-based examinations, which are described below:
Greater Security :
An exam management system improves the flexibility and security of the examination process through technology. It drastically reduces the chances of question papers leaking and offers a secure way to store questions for various subjects. After faculties upload all questions in the system, exam management software can shuffle and provide questions in different orders to each student, which minimizes the possibility of cheating. Even if a paper is leaked, you can create a new question paper in minutes and send it out, provided you have a set of alternate questions ready.
Quick Results & Ranking :
An online exam management system helps calculate assessment results instantly and publish them for students. Further, it can offer a detailed analysis of results and rank students on each topic accurately. This greatly simplifies the process of shortlisting and decision-making, which would take weeks to complete if done manually.
No need for exam centers :
An online exam management solution can conduct assessments for thousands of students without booking any examination center. Students can take online tests from their current location, which solves the problem of scheduling examinations across multiple centers, recruiting invigilators, distributing question papers, and offering security to such centers.
Reduced costs & time:
As mentioned above, an online exam management system can significantly reduce costs. In a typical examination setting, faculties need to set question papers, which must be edited further before their selection and publication.
If the number of students is high, assessments need to be held at multiple centers, where question papers and answer scripts need to be delivered on time. Additionally, one has to hire invigilators and support staff to see that an exam is conducted successfully.
Additionally, in school or college evaluations, scores from multiple subject teachers need to be collected upon assessments to create report cards with average scores and rankings. All of this can be done using exam management software in minutes and at very nominal costs.
The use of live online proctoring tools in online examinations greatly helps institutions and lowers invigilation costs. Most online exam management tools have an auto-surveillance mode where the web camera would take snapshots of students to determine if they are cheating or not. This ensures that the right candidate is taking the exam and keeps track of the students’ behavior and activities during the live assessment. Some exam management solutions also offer AI-based surveillance, which can detect malpractices and pause exams midway while notifying authorities.
Some Other Benefits are:
1 . Suitable for Objective & Subjective Exams :
The use of online examinations began with institutions conducting multiple-choice (objective) questions through them. The answers provided by students could easily be matched with the correct answers provided by teachers by the system itself, and results could be published in a short time. This is why most of us associate online exam management systems with objective-type questions. However, today they allow teachers to evaluate subjective (detailed) answers simply by creating a login account for themselves. Thus all types of questions can be assessed using an exam management system.
2 . Automated Question Paper Generation :
Designing a digital exam question paper is relatively easy compared to a traditional question paper. Here teachers can create multiple question sets and store them securely. Faculties can also get question papers approved digitally by superiors, and upon approval, the question set will be ready to be deployed in front of students on the scheduled date.
3 . Scalability :
Another significant benefit of using a virtual exam management system is the scalability it offers. Typically, offline examinations have a limit of hosting a few hundred students per session. However, there is no limit to the number of students you can cater to with online exam management solutions. Even if the number of students per session doubles, a virtual exam management tool can help you host them simultaneously while offering a seamless experience to students.
4 . Score Analytics:
Using a virtual exam management system, you can get in-depth insights into how each student performs using analytics. This helps you evaluate how well students have understood the lessons taught and where their strengths lie. This can be very important in any aptitude test or selection procedure where mapping a student’s skills becomes essential.
Most online exam management systems provide a dashboard where individual, and group-level analytics help assessors decipher how well students have learned and where they have faltered. Based on the insights received, organizations can modify educational policies, reformative actions, and learning modules.
Besides student performances, exam management solutions can also help you understand how well each faculty/evaluator is performing. For example, you can check the work done by each teacher to understand how well they have done the tasks assigned to them and whether they are lagging behind or not. You can also compare their stats with other evaluators to know how well each of your faculty members is doing.
5 . Integrations :
If you already have an online learning management system (LMS) or human resource management system (HRMS) in place, availing an exam management system that integrates with your LMS software can be highly beneficial. It not only relays exam data directly to your learning/evaluation system but also makes it easier to set question papers and send them directly to the assessment management system software. Thus, you can receive results soon after exams are completed directly into your LMS or HRMS solution with proper ranks and scores.
6 . Student Assistance:
Virtual examinations are much easier for students to appear in and save time and effort. There is no physical travel required for the tests, and the declared results are either made visible to them instantly or mailed via exam management tools. Moreover, advanced assessment tools allow students to view and understand how they have been marked in tests and view the comments made by evaluators while marking them. This improves transparency, accountability and enables students to correct their mistakes in future examinations.
Similar to offline examinations, online exam management solutions help students to request reassessment, which the assessors can process. Moreover, in case of technical difficulties, assessors can also allow students to retake tests, which isn’t possible in most offline scenarios.
The above factors highlight why virtual assessments are better than their offline counterparts and why they will become more and more important in the coming times. Furthermore, with technological advancements, they will only become better and further improve the experience of students, evaluators, and educational institutions.