A potential trend of test owners are moving from pen-and-paper to computer-based testing (CBT) delivery in India, reveals a recently published report. Of the 47 per cent, who currently use pen-and-paper, 33 per cent said they are likely to move to CBT in the near future. The vast majority of all test owners, i.e. 81 per cent stated that there is no alternative to CBT as it is more reliable.
The study, conducted by Pearson VUE in partnership with IMRB, surveyed senior managers from 100 exam-owning companies and institutions in the medical, legal, finance, IT and higher education sectors. About 43 per cent reported challenges in developing new assessment content, and 38 per cent expressed difficulty in maintaining the relevancy of their assessment. The survey reveals the challenges of knowing whether an exam accurately measures relevant competency, with 38 per cent test owners finding the restrictions of the exam format itself a challenge – which may in part have an impact on the ability to fulfil the test purpose.
The report, “Improving India’s Exam Standards: Challenges Facing Test Owners”, also found that about 46 per cent are concerned that candidates are cheating in exams, and a third are concerned with candidate impersonation. There is also concern about test paper leakage (39 percent), which is a problem associated with pen-and-paper rather than CBT.
Divyalok Sharma, director of client development at computer-based testing company Pearson VUE, said, “Assessment content, or in other words the test questions, is the lifeblood of an exam. Focusing on that content is key to the success of an exam programme, along with finding ways to make exams more relevant not only in terms of legislation and up-to-date processes, but also making sure it is relevant to the professional role that person will eventually hold. It is equally important for test owners in India to review their current test development practices and standards and follow international best practices in testing.
“There are a number of inter-related factors and processes that can cause an exam to succeed or fail, including understanding of test objectives, robust test design, appropriate test format, good quality test questions and the statistical analysis of questions. These factors also contribute to the ultimate goal of creating a valid, fair and reliable test,” he added.