To equip the youth of India with relevant skills for their professional journey, the Indian Government is focusing on digitising the education sector. This can be seen from initiatives like the New Education Policy (NEP) 2020, SWAYAM, the National Digital Library, Virtual Labs, e-Yantra, and FOSSEE.
With many people turning to online learning, certifications are now being granted on the basis of computer-based testing (CBT). The convenience, security, and efficiency that CBT brings to the table outshines the traditional pen-and-paper based method of testing. Scheduling a computer-based exam through a test centre is convenient for both the examiner and the test-taker.
The latter doesn’t have to travel to a test centre and, since they’re being monitored remotely, any irregular behaviour can be easily flagged, thereby maintaining the integrity of the test. This way, both students and professionals can gain new certifications without having to take time off from work or travel long distances. The organisation offering the exam can deliver the test globally, without any geographical constraints. CBT also allows the candidate to choose the date and time according to their convenience.
With CBT, the problems of the traditional test are nullified. A digital test paper is uploaded to the test centre on the day of the exam and encrypted. Furthermore, with the help of AI, different question papers can be set at the same difficulty level and, by randomising the order of questions and possible answers, each question paper becomes different.
Another major benefit of CBT is that it significantly reduces logistical expenses of procuring answer sheets, printing question papers, transporting answer sheets to the evaluation centre, and so on. Offering CBT in small test centres can offer a valuable alternative to pupils who are unable to take their exams in schools.
However, with the majority of rural India still not having access to high-speed Internet and technology penetration still being quite low, people who haven’t been exposed to technology are often sceptical. The National Testing Agency (NTA) has already started tutoring students in rural areas on how to take tests on computers. By participating in regular mock tests, students have become more confident and are better able to understand the benefits of CBT.
As AI and machine learning continue to advance, we can be sure that CBT will shape the future of assessment in India.
The writer is Senior Director, Client Development (India and SAARC), Pearson VUE India.