DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION OF AN ONLINE COMPUTER BASED TEST (CBT) SYSTEM (A CASE STUDY OF SPRINGLIGHT ICT ACADEMY, UYO)
Background of the study
It is widely believed that all tests will one day be delivered on a computer of some sort (Bennett, 1998, 2002). However, it is difficult to accurately predict when this day will come. It has seemingly been just around the corner since the early 1990s, when a handful of early adopters, including the ASVAB (Sands, Waters, & McBride, 1997) and the GRE® (Mills, 1999), signed on to computerbased testing (CBT). Today, dozens of admissions, placement, certification, and licensure testing programs are administered on computer, with the number growing each year. On the K–12 front, several states already conduct their annual accountability testing on computer, and many others are poised to join in. Hundreds of schools or districts also employ CBTs in a formative or diagnostic role in service of instruction.
Computer-based testing (CBT) is an efficient way for test sponsors to provide a secure, consistent environment forcertification and licensure while significantly enhancing the candidate experience. It is common for testing volumes to increase after a full conversion from paper-based testing (PBT) to CBT, often as a result of the availability of a greater number of testing locations and more flexible scheduling and testing opportunities. Migration from PBT to CBT does affect candidate behavior, however, and it is possible for some testing programs to experience brief reductions in demand triggered by candidate apprehension regarding CBT. This sometimes results in either a last-minute increase in testing during final PBT administrations or candidate procrastination to the last available computerized testing date. Therefore, the question facing licensing organizations is how to keep test volumes up and candidate uncertainty down when migrating from a paper-based to a computer-based test?
The key to mitigating test volume risk and ultimately driving an increase in demand is ongoing marketing, candidate education and outreach. In terms of promoting the new computerized testing program, marketing and effective communication can have an important impact on stakeholder acceptance of CBT and comfort with its use.
In order to allay candidate fears and minimize questions, it is prudent to launch a communications campaign early in the conversion process that directly addresses constituent concerns and promotes sustainable program interest.
The challenges faced with Pencil-Paper Test (PPT) or Paper based test is overwhelming, they include but not limited to exam malpractice, inaccuracy in marking, delay in marking results. These challenges do not help in the growth of the education sector of Nigeria.
Computer Based Test are economical, accurate and time bound. Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Institutions can adopt this system to solve challenges noted above. Examination bodies such as the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) are already adopting a system that carters for her examinations across 500 CBT centres nationwide. This has aided the examination to curb challenges faced with the PPT system of examination.
Objectives of the study
The main objective of the research project is to design and implement an online computer based test system. Specific objectives of the research paper are:
- To develop a CBT system that automatically generates exam numbers for students.
- To develop a CBT system with enhanced security features to avoid exam malpractice.
- To design a CBT system with real time processing of results for candidates.
1.6 Significance of the study
This study is intended to assist in some small way those practitioners who are struggling with the decision of whether to test on computer and how they might best go about doing so. It is not intended to provide an introduction to the important methods and to the considerations that dictate use of those methods. It is far from comprehensive in this regard. To make truly informed decisions, one would need to be at least conversant if not quite familiar with most of the references listed here. In short, this is not a roadmap intended to precisely direct practitioners on their journey to computerized delivery, but rather more a guidebook highlighting some of the landmarks they will likely visit along the way. As with all trips, we need to start by deciding whether the attractions of the destination outweigh the rigors of travel.
1.7 Scope/Limitations of the study
This study covered the design and implementation of an online computer based test system, using SpringLight Technology as the case study.
Limitations of study
- Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection through the internet, questionnaire and interview.
Time constraint– The researcher simultaneously engaged in this study with other academic work. This consequently cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 Background of SpringLight Technology
SpringLight Technology is an Information Technology Company that is registered with the corporate affairs commission as a corporate body in 2015, under the Companies and Allied Matters Decree No 1, 1990 in Abuja Nigeria. Prior to this period, the firm operated as an online platform that provides solutions for businesses and has grown into a company with a physical presence in our current location.
SpringLight Info Tech since then has rapidly grown to an organization with other units like the ICT Academy, ICT Unit that does software development, web development Data analysis, graphics designs, search engine optimization, consulting, content development and a research Unit.
1.8 Definition of terms
Computer Based Test (CBT): Is the use of information technology for any assessment-related activity.
Design: Is the creation of a plan or convention for the construction of an object or a system.
Implement: To put (a decision, plan, agreement, etc.) into effect.
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Bennett, R. E. (2002). Inexorable and inevitable: The continuing story of technology and assessment. Journal of Technology, Learning, and Assessment, 1(1). Available from http://www.jtla.org
Cassady, J. C., & Gridley, B. E. (2005). The effects of online formative and summative assessment on test anxiety and performance. Journal of Technology, Learning, and Assessment, 4. Available from http://www. jtla.org
Harmes, J. C., & Parshall, C. G. (2010). A model for planning, designing and developing innovative items. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Council on Measurement in Education, Denver, CO.
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