Challenges of E-Examinations

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Electronically-based testing places special demands on the technical, organisational, legal and examination framework:

Technical reliability
The technical infrastructure must be reliable enough to ensure that there is no risk of examination data loss. Providing a sufficient number of workstations that can be used in parallel should prevent the need for repeated examination sittings requiring the costly preparation of equivalent exercises.

Legal security
There are high legal standards also in regard to fraud proofing and the prevention of tampering, equal opportunities for all examinees, and archiving of the examination results, and accordingly allowance must be made for these in the examination regulations.

Quality of questions
A major reason for scepticism about the worth of e-examinations is their reputed restriction to closed questions that can be automatically analysed. This is supposed to mean that it is only possible to examine factual knowledge, resulting in a reduced quality of examination. Higher cognitive processes such as comprehension or application can however now be allowed for with the broad spectrum of differing types of question of the examination system and careful construction of closed questions. Adaptation of the available types of question to the learning-oriented examination contents in comparison to normal examinations means greater work for the tutors in the preparatory phase, however it equally calls for greater consideration to be paid to the desired examination quality.

Working with the examination system
Moreover, in order to prepare the sets of questions and examinations the tutors must be familiar with the operation of the examination system. In order to simplify this, an examination system is being used that is derived from the learning management system in use at the University of Göttingen and therefore already familiar to many tutors.

Taking up the challenge
There is a wide range of advice and support available to help counter these challenges. As well as guaranteeing suitable technical and organisational conditions, the service for Digital Learning and Teaching supports the tutors with the preparation of the best-quality examination content. If necessary it also provides information about explicit rules in the General Examination Regulations (APO) and the practical consequences of these.