Ever since objective exams went online, educational institutes started looking for solutions to completely digitize assessments. But, edtech companies have been focusing only on e-learning and not online assessments so far. The lack of acceptance of online assessment apps by schools is one of the major reasons giants of the edtech sector haven’t focused on this segment. However, times are changing and with the pandemic threat that has made the whole world work remotely, the focus on online assessment apps has increased to a great extent. Educational institutes have to make sure that the curriculum is up and running. But they also face the challenge of doing so remotely. There are hundreds of applications that promote e-learning and online classes, but very few apps that focus on the overall functioning, i.e. teaching and testing altogether.
In this blog, we’ll cover what’s, how’s of online assessments, benefits, features of the best online assessment apps, and more.
What are online assessments?
Let’s start with the very basics, what is online assessment? Online assessment is an assessment, a test, or an exam that takes place online on a phone, laptop, desktop, or tablet over the internet using a platform. Competitive exams are sort of online assessments, not exactly but similar. When we talk about schools conducting online assessments, it would mean periodic assessments of the whole class. Online assessment is an easier, cheaper, and much time saving alternate or you could say the future replacement of traditional pen & paper-based assessments.
There are multiple online assessment apps that you can use to conduct remote assessments, however, make sure the one you choose offers all the benefits and features mentioned below.
Benefits of Conducting online assessment
The benefits of conducting online assessment are without a doubt enormous, you can save capital, time, and even save the teachers from stress. Let’s read about the major benefits in detail:
Little to No use of resources
Sounds confusing, but what we mean to say here is that, when you go online, you are saving a lot of resources. In traditional exams, you would need to print multiple copies of each question paper and even a single typing error would lead to reprints. In online assessment, the paper would directly appear on the student’s app screen, saving a lot of paper and money. Electricity is another resource that you will ideally be saving if you conduct online assessments remotely. Each student will be working on the assessment from his/her individual place, thus saving a lot of electricity costs for a school.
Time is money and if you can make time, you can excel in a lot of departments. How do online assessments help save time, could have a completely separate blog, for now, let’s have a brief overview. Consider the making of a question paper in a traditional assessment setup. For starters, the teacher has to take out time from his/her schedule to create a question paper. Once the question paper is ready, someone from the staff will again have to spend a decent amount of time making copies of it. During the assessment, the teacher has to invigilate the students for the duration of the test. Post the exam, the teacher will again have to take out time to check the answer sheets.
There’s also a lot of time involved in the distribution and collection of papers, answer sheets, filling details, etc. in each exam. Multiple small time-consuming activities together take up a lot of time.
Now, let’s consider an online assessment. There’s little to no use of paper and you upload the questions directly on the app. Teachers do not need to invigilate the exam since parents become the invigilators in the remote assessment. With functions like real-time checking, answer sheets can be checked simultaneously, saving more time for teachers. Since assessment is being done on the app, all the details of the student are automatically filled. Question paper is distributed amongst all the students within one click and answer sheets are submitted by each student individually.
You can see the enormous amount of time that can be saved if the education fraternity starts preferring online assessment over traditional assessment.
Makes Organizing Exams Easier
Organizing exams is a great deal of stress, but thanks to technology the stress is not taken up by applications and not teachers. This benefit is quite obvious though, in the online assessment you can organize everything more easily in comparison to traditional ones. You just have to create and share the question paper with the students, the students have to write and submit the answers and it’s done. You can send in timings notification to all the students a couple of days (or longer, depends on you) prior to the assessment. The students just have to log in at the time, finish the paper, and submit it. The grades are stored on secure servers and you will have the complete data within minutes.
Gives detailed insight into performances
Another benefit of online assessment apps is that they give a detailed insight into each student’s performance. Unlike classroom assessments, the teacher has a detailed overview of how each student and the overall class performed on certain questions and certain topics. Teachers and schools can then use this benefit to change or work on different approaches towards teaching a certain topic or subject. The performance of each assessment is stored on the server, this can help teachers compare student’s performance/growth over time.
If you look at the current scenario, social distancing and hygiene are of the topmost priority. Since there is no possible transmission or any hand to hand interaction in online assessment, they are the safest way to test students at present and in the future. If you compare this safety with traditional assessments, there is a huge gap. When we conduct traditional tests, exam copies are manually handled by at least 4-5 people before making their way to the student. Then 100s of answer sheets are piled together, which a teacher has to check, even 1 contaminated sheet would mean risking the lives of many people. Since everyone uses their own device in online exams, there’s no chance of contamination.
When we talk about any online exam software, security comes as an added benefit. From exam access to data, everything is super secure. Consider a normal scenario, you have a register that has the grades of each and every student over a period of 6 months, and you accidentally spill some liquid while working on it. What an unfortunate situation would that be? But when you use online examination systems, complete login, exam, result data will be stored on secure servers ensuring complete security.
Features that online assessment apps should have
Now that we are done with the benefits of an online assessment software, let’s get to the features that you should look out for while purchasing one. If you think about it, you can ask for a great number of features in an online assessment app, however, the ones mentioned below are more than enough and if an app offers these, take it.
Option to conduct assessments in both formats
This is very important. We are habitual to conducting and giving only objective tests online, few to none have planned or have put serious thought behind conducting subjective papers online. Since subjective papers are the ones that truly test a student’s knowledge our online assessment app should, nay, must have an option to conduct both types of exams.
Option to check papers in real-time
To truly replace the traditional assessment, the app should also have a feature that offers real-time paper checking. In schools, papers are generally checked in two different ways. One is when the teacher takes a test and starts checking the answer sheets as soon as students submit them. The other is late checking, which generally happens in periodic exams when answer sheets are collected and checked later. Since our app will have real-time paper checking, the teacher can instantly check and grade the students thus providing a proper replacement to traditional assessments.
Option to store questions/ create question bank
Our online examination software should have an option to create question banks. Although teachers generally create fresh questions in each exam, there are chances when you would want to select and upload questions from a previous set. Having a buffer set of questions will help you deploy quick tests and exams.
Allows sharing study material
Our online exam system should also allow study material and lesson plan sharing. This is important, why? Because it will create a streamlined flow for assessments. You will be able to direct students towards the right thing to study. This in turn will help them prepare better. One more thing, the app should allow uploading such content-rich files in multiple formats. This will make sure that you are not restricted to creating a particular type of file.
The option of Result Analysis
Once we’re done with the exams, we want to check the overall performance of the class. To do that our app must provide a result analysis option. This option will also be useful in tracking a particular student’s performance over a series of tests.
Secure Access and Secure Storage
Not only the app should be high on access-based security, but it should also save your data securely. The first step in an online assessment app is student signups. Our app should have a feature that allows differentiating genuine signups from spam. The app will also store data for a huge number of students, which will include personal information. Our app must use a secure server to protect this data by all means.
Unlimited Storage and old data access
A school ideally has anywhere between 500-2000+ students, creating signups, profiles, and tests for all students would require space. If you choose to create question banks and store results for all the assessments, you would need more storage. In this case, an ideal app would be one that provides unlimited storage. That would save you from constantly upgrading plans or adding more space.
Countless studies show that healthy competition gets more results from every human, let alone students. Although not a necessity, but a feature that helps promote healthy competition in some way among students would increase performance and students will push to score higher.
The Best app in the list of online assessment apps
If you google “online assessment app” or “online examination software” you will find countless results, which would confuse you. We have a better option. You have already read the benefits and features that an online assessment app should have. Here’s the name of an application – Schoolzpro. This app is by far the best online assessment app that offers all the features mentioned above. The interface is very interactive and easy to use. The application has a web version, an android version, and an ios version.
General feedback on the application says that t’s fast, quick, and high on security. The app was launched in April and has gained decent publicity since. There are reviews that mention it as the best app for online assessment.
How to conduct exams using the best app for online assessment
Since Schoolzpro is the best app for online assessment, we’ll help you with how to conduct assessments using it. The process is quick and easy. Let’s assume you are starting from scratch. The first thing would be signing up both by you and the students. Second, you go on the exam screen, wait for the students to join, and then start the exam. Once the student submits the paper, you can check the papers in real-time. These are just the high-level features of the app, to know more about the app, you can take a demo here.