5 best practices for thriving online examinations

Best practices for Online Testing 

Furnish students with a practice exam that employs question banks to stimulate their interest and keep things varied. Incorporate a diverse range of question formats, such as multiple-choice, short answer, and essay questions. Ensure that the questions necessitate critical thinking rather than simply recalling information. Lastly, assess and refine the online exam parameters.

Online exam software can be the ideal tool to facilitate your teaching, whether you’re delivering an online course or looking to enhance your on-campus lectures. If you’re new to online teaching, though, you might feel daunted by the process and unsure of how to optimize your exams for online use. Alternatively, if you’re an experienced online instructor, you may be seeking fresh ideas to enhance your online assessments.

What’s different with online assessments?

To achieve a prosperous online assessment, you don’t necessarily require exam questions that differ from those used in in-person proctoring. You might just need to increase the number of questions. The significant contrast lies in the presentation of the questions. These pointers will be useful whether you’re creating your initial or thirtieth online examination.

Provide a practice test

It is crucial to keep in mind that online testing may be a new experience for your students, regardless of how long you have been teaching online. Even if they have taken online exams previously, they might not be familiar with the platform your school is using, or they might need a refresher after the summer break. To ensure that everyone is on the same page and to set expectations for assessments in your course, it is a good idea to provide practice tests.

When developing your practice test, ensure that the settings and questions are similar to those that will be used for actual tests and quizzes. If there is a time limit for the test, time the practice quiz accordingly. If both multiple-choice and essay questions will be included, use both in the practice test while keeping it light and enjoyable. You can also take this opportunity to get to know your students better by inquiring about their hobbies or interests. By the end of the practice test, your students will be familiar with the technology and prepared to tackle the first quiz.

Use question banks

Compared to traditional examinations, the online examination system grants instructors less authority over the testing environment. As a result, it is crucial to implement tactics that encourage students to prepare for and excel in exams, while also making cheating more challenging.

One of the notable advantages of online exams is the availability of a question bank. This resource can help maintain student engagement, foster attentiveness to the material, and promote variability in testing. To fully utilize the question bank, generating more questions than the required amount is recommended (e.g., creating 30 multiple-choice questions for an exam with 20 questions). During the test, the system will randomly select questions from the pool for each student, ensuring that no two exams are identical.

Provide variation

Online exam software offers more than just question banks, it provides various opportunities to keep students engaged and learning. Utilizing different question formats such as multiple-choice, short-answer, and essay questions allow students to demonstrate their knowledge in diverse ways and highlight areas where they may be struggling.

To keep students attentive, randomization features can be employed. In addition to shuffling questions, answers can also be randomized, ensuring that even when two students receive the same question, the multiple-choice answer options appear in a different order.

Lean into critical thinking

Throughout the teaching process, your objective should be to involve your students. When designing exam questions, it’s not enough to assess their ability to recall information; you also want to evaluate their capacity to apply what they’ve learned.

To determine whether your questions demand critical thinking, a useful gauge is to consider how effortlessly the answer could be obtained through an online search. If the answer is readily available, consider making the question more captivating. By crafting questions that relate the course material to their personal experiences, you encourage your students to engage with the subject matter and enhance their likelihood of succeeding in your class.

Review and optimize your settings for online exams

Although you cannot directly manage a student’s testing environment, online proctoring provides various options to ensure a successful testing experience for both you and your students. By selecting settings such as displaying only one question at a time, you can prevent students from easily taking screenshots or copying exam materials, as well as ensure their progress is saved after each question. Additionally, features like randomization and disabling copy/paste can further safeguard your exam content.

Online proctoring systems offer various settings to customize remote learning instruction for your courses and exams. To ensure success, it’s important to become familiar with these features and select the ones that best suit your needs and those of your students. Additionally, make it a habit to regularly review your preferred settings to guarantee desired assessment outcomes.

Writing online exams doesn’t have to be complicated

The process of conducting online examinations is not vastly different from in-person assessments. Although it is important to adopt appropriate online testing protocols and settings to facilitate your students’ success, your core content and questions should generally transfer seamlessly to the online examination system.

To enhance the quality of your online exams, consider consulting with colleagues in your department to gather additional ideas. They can offer valuable insights based on their own experiences, including successes and challenges. Most are likely to be happy to share their knowledge with you as you embark on creating or improving your online exams.

By making a few necessary adjustments, you can create engaging online tests that facilitate learning, promote student engagement, and allow for accurate assessment of their knowledge. By utilizing these strategies and others, instructors can create online exams that are both effective and user-friendly, helping students learn and succeed in their coursework.

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