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6 ways online testing software can enhance education

Read Time 4 Mins
Learning & Development

Online testing software can help bring education into the 21st century.

It’s strange to think that despite the huge changes that have occurred to how we live over the last decade or so, school assessment is still basically the same as it was a hundred years ago. It’s even stranger when you consider the fact that online testing software is more available, user-friendly, and advanced than ever before.

Still, when you look closely, the reasons behind the lack of change are understandable.

For one thing, schools are being put under too much pressure to hastily adopt technology without first developing some understanding of how it can help or should be used. Another problem is the sheer volume of tech products out there – how can anyone decide which technologies to implement when there are so many to choose from?

Schools are being put under too much pressure to hastily adopt technology without first developing some understanding of how it can help or should be used. Click To Tweet

Then there is all-too-human fear of change. Many educators and district administrators feel that using new technology represents a risk. What if it disrupts student workflows? What if it’s too difficult to use? What if learners fall behind because things don’t work out as planned?

Given the stakes, these worries make perfect sense, but they’re still grounded in a lack of information. If technology can be used to improve everything from communication to corporate training, why shouldn’t it help improve learning too? To illustrate technology’s potential in education, here’s a list of just some of the ways that online testing software can help modernize school assessments and create a more positive learning experience for all.

6 reasons why education should be using online testing software

1. They free up more time for actual teaching

Time is a precious commodity in education. Creating, administering, and grading assessments by hand on paper takes a huge amount of time and effort, which means less time focusing on helping students understand class material. With online testing software, it’s possible to streamline the entire authoring and grading process, thereby freeing up time that teachers can spend elsewhere. Some testing software can even make autograding a possibility for paper-based assessment.

2. They make it easier to track and understand student performance

One of the main criticisms of current school assessments is that they are too focused on grades. “Instructors grade the vast majority of high-stakes summative assessments on paper and collapse all that information down to a single number for entry into the grade book,” writes Arjun Singh in Edsurge.

This approach puts too much focus on test scores rather than topic understanding or mastery. However, digital testing tools make it far easier to use assessment as a learning tool by giving educators a wealth of student data to work with in understanding their performance. Without this technology, teachers would need to manually dig through old student assignments to gain the kinds of insights they could generate within minutes using an online testing software.

3. They help better prepare learners for the workplace

According to Laura McKenna of Edutopia, “The old models of student assessment are out of step with the needs of the 21st-century workplace and society, with their emphasis on hard-to-measure skills such as creativity, problem solving, persistence, and collaboration.” Given the school assessment’s current limitations, it’s small wonder that measuring such skills is proving difficult. Integrating technology with learning helps better prepare learners for workplace environments that are already rich in new technologies and softwares.

'The old models of student assessment are out of step with the needs of the 21st-century workplace and society.' Click To Tweet

4. They increase student engagement

Technology has infiltrated all aspects of learners’ lives. As much as 92 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds in the US own a smartphone; 86 percent are social media users. Technology is ubiquitous – apart from in education. This automatically creates a disconnect between the content that learners’ engage with outside of the classroom and the content they are given inside it. Yet many learning platforms and online testing software now allow educators to include more dynamic content through by using multimedia and interactivity. Today’s platforms are also optimized for mobile use, meaning that student engagement can easily continue beyond the classroom walls.

5. They can be reliably used to test more students, more quickly

Because tests often represent a culmination of learning, they tend to be high-pressure affairs. As a result, placing your faith in a new technology can be tricky. A glitch or system crash could turn a high-pressure situation into a chaotic, panic-ridden one. Yet there’s no need to fear. Today’s best-in-class online testing software is built to perform reliably even at massive scale. And while scalability and efficiency are major plus points, online testing software also affords educators immediate access to student responses.

6. They can integrate with existing technologies quickly and easily

As mentioned near the beginning of this article, too much choice can pose a problem for schools looking to implement a new technology. Having selected a platform, they may find it does not cover all bases, but try to make do with what they have. This needn’t be the case. Thanks to the API economy, most technologies today are designed with integration in mind. This means that sophisticated online testing software can be plugged into existing systems and put to immediate use.

Micheál Heffernan

Senior Editor

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