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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The paper and pen (manual) method of writing examination, which has been in existence for decades, may not be fascinating for use because of the problems usually experienced, which include examination venue capacity constraints, lack of comfort for examination candidates, delay in the release of results, examination malpractices, cost implication of printing examination materials and human error. One of the benefits stated for computer-based assessment is that, it can improve student performance in summative assessments. With the series of research paper work by Ricketts & Wilks suggested that the students’ performance improved dramatically when they were not required to scroll through the question paper, because. The students may be disadvantaged by the introduction of online assessment, unless care is taken with the student assessment interface, we have shown that the introduction of online assessment resulted in a drop in student performance between two cohorts of students, a few students felt that online examinations were more stressful or had disadvantaged them, because they hate computers (Ricketts & Wilks, 2001). This is in line with the comments of Brosnan (1999) about computer anxiety affecting performance. However, it is interesting to note that dyslexic students found the online examination an advantage. A number of other students remarked that this format was less stressful than other exams.
This brings about the need for automation of the examination system. Over the years, there have been various automated examination systems that have been developed with one or more limitations. Some of these limitations include lack of scalability, near-reliability, lack of robustness, lack of flexible timing functionality to automatically log-off candidates upon expiration of allotted time as a challenge (Ipaye, 2009); malpractice due to questions not randomly generated (Ayo et al, 2007); not well secured application domain in terms of data security and integrity (Levy & Ramim, 2007); most existing computer based test (CBT) systems are deployed as stand-alone applications that run on distributed networks making access to such applications restricted to the networked geographical domain and are only suited for the application environment only (Huszti & Petho, 2008). As such, no unified development model exists and this alone undermines the success of the e-examination platform for real-time adoption in practice. There is no way one can talk of computer based assessment without emphasizing on information and communication technology. By implication one could refer computer based assessment (CBA) as technology based assessment (TBA). Meanwhile Information-Communication Technology (ICT) offers so many outstanding possibilities for teaching and learning that its application has been growing steadily in every segment of education. Within the general trends of the utilization of ICT in education, technology-based assessment (TBA) represents a rapidly increasing share. Several traditional assessment processes can be carried out more efficiently by means of computers. In addition, technology offers new assessment methods that cannot be otherwise realized. It is without doubt that TBA or CBA will replace paper-based testing in most of the traditional assessment scenarios, and technology will further extend the territories of assessment in education, as it provides frequent and precise feedback for the participants in learning and teaching that cannot be achieved by any other means. Also these will enable the teachers to evaluate the speed versus power ability of the learners. The speed test given to learners produces correct answers to questions in the presence of familiar questions but with limited time. Whole the power test enables then students to use their previous knowledge to solve difficult and unfamiliar questions in the presence of unlimited time.
Computer based assessment (CBA) fully represents computer base technology (CBT) and technology based assessment (TBA) and an overview of the historical background of the early 2000s, much has occurred in CBT. CBT seems to have advantages over paper and pencil testing, both for states that run the assessment programs and for the students who participate in them. These advantages are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, which in one of its major initiatives (Race to the Top Assessment Program), encouraged the development of CBT. There currently is strong interest in CBT and advocates have identified many positive merits of this approach to assessment including: efficient administration, student preference, self-selection options for students, improved writing performance, built-in accommodations, immediate results, efficient item development, increased authenticity, and the potential to shift focus from assessment to instruction (e.g., Becker, 2006; Salend, 2009; Thompson et al., 2002). CBT also allows new ways of assessing students that move beyond the traditional multiple choice and constructed response items. For example, innovative assessments are now being developed that enable students to manipulate data and role play. Yet, as states move forward with CBT they are discovering that it is important to consider not only the positive benefits, but also potential negative unintended consequences. These include, for example, the possibility that additional training will be needed for students with disabilities to interact successfully with computers and the challenges of determining the best way to present some accommodations such as screen readers.
Performance assessments have been an integral part of educational systems in numerous countries however they have not been fully integrated in assessment systems in this country. Research has shown that the format of the assessment affects the type of thinking and reasoning skills that are used by students, with performance assessments being better suited to assessing high level, complex thinking skills. Recent advances in the design and scoring of performance assessments, including computer-based task simulations and automated scoring systems, support their increased use in large-scale assessment programs. There are also promising technical advances that support their use. The educational benefit of using performance assessments has been demonstrated by a number of researchers. When students are given the opportunity to work on meaningful, real world tasks in instruction, students have demonstrated improved performance on performance assessments. Sound educational practice calls for the alignment among curriculum, instruction and assessment, and there is ample evidence to support the use of performance assessments in both instruction and assessment to improve student learning for all students.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The two types of CBTs are linear and adaptive, whereby a linear test is a full-length examination in which the computer selects different questions for individuals without considering their performance level. It consists of a full range of test questions-from easiest to most difficult-but not always in that order. The linear test is scored in the same way as a paper-based test. A computer adaptive test is one in which the computer selects the range of questions based on individuals‟ performance level. These questions are taken from a very large pool of possible questions categorized by content and difficulty. When you take a paper-based test, you will find that you are asked to answer questions ranging from easy to hard. In a computer-based adaptive test, each test-taker receives questions that are at the right level of difficulty for his or her ability. These tests begin with a question that is of medium level of difficulty for most test takers. After each question is answered, the computer uses the answer and all previous answers to determine which question will be answered next. The next question is one that best follows the previous performance. This means that different test takers-even in the same room on the same day-will receive different questions. Since adaptive test questions are selected according to performance on previous questions, less time is spent than on a paper-based test on questions that are either too easy or too hard. Usually, one cannot skip ahead or go back as is possible with the paper-based examination. Friedrich (2008) noted that CBT enables educators and trainers to author, schedule, deliver and report on surveys, quizzes, tests and exams. It could be a stand-alone system or a part of a virtual learning environment, possibly accessed via the World Wide Web. In addition to the examination itself, CBT takes care of other related activities that interact with the assessment such as test administration, setting questions and automated marking. Computers are used by candidates to conduct their examinations online, usually in the form of multiple choice questions, submit and get immediate results. Examinations, in this context, refer to tests which aim to determine the ability of a student or a prospective candidate into an institution of learning; which are usually written tests, sometimes with practical components. Assessment needs to be taken as a very vital component of the educational process because one of the challenges facing educational institutions today is the conduct of examinations resulting in valid and reliable scores.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
Regardless of the improved use of CBT, there is still an extensive disappointment with their implementation and performance. Hence, the main purpose of this study is to about encouragement in using CBT for evaluating students in colleges of education.
1.4 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The research work is restricted to Computer Based Test on the following subjects: C, C++ and Java for any school. The procedure involves a student registering by filling a form(which contains First name, Last name, Matric No., School, Semester, Email and Password) for signing in, reading the examination rule, selecting one of the subject, attempting the question, after finishing these, the result is then released thereby showing whether the student is eligible or not.
1.5 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
In this paper, a unified, scalable and flexible CBT system that addresses the aforementioned limitations of the some existing e-examination systems is developed. The conceptual design including the Data Flow Diagram (DFD), for the system developed is also presented. Java scripting language, Microsoft Access 2012 and Window 2007 are the tools used for the development of the CBT system. The result of the user assessment survey of the CBT system conducted indicates the registering, setting, conducting and grading examination as well as generating and managing results become highly time-efficient, less prone to human error, more secured and at the comfort of both the lecturers and the students; thus preferred over the existing platforms for conducting examination.
An online assessment however, is expected to offer several advantages for the institution and the learner. These include (Andrew et al, 2009):
Ø Time analysis of responses to the question level to better discriminate between candidates including video in questions, particularly for scenarios in authentic assessment.
Ø Adaptive testing, where the next question to be posed is determined by prior response(s).
Ø Question banks and randomization of questions and response orders to reduce cheating.
Ø Automated analysis of results from entire candidate cohorts.
Ø Immediate feedback can be given
1.6 SIGNIFICANT OF THE STUDY
At the achievement of the study it is hoped that the findings of this research will provide an insight into implementation of using CBT in accessing both refreshers and staylites i.e post jamb and general course in colleges of education.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
The following definitions were presented to enable the reader to understand the terms used in the study.
1. Computer: - A computer is a general purpose device that can be programmed to carry out a finite set of arithmetic or logical operations. Since a sequence of operations can be readily changed, the computer can solve more than one kind of problem.
2. Assessment: - Assessment is the systematic collection, review and use of information about educational programs to improve student learning. Assessment focuses on what students know, what they are able to do, and what values they have when they graduate. Assessment is concerned with the collective impact of a program on student learning.
3. Evaluation: - Evaluation offers a way to determine whether an initiative has been worthwhile in terms of delivering what was intended and expected. However, good evaluation can also answer other important questions
4. Test: - a procedure intended to establish the quality, performance, or reliability of something.
5. Computer based assessment (CBA):- Computer based assessment (CBA) is the various electronics methods used in the assessment and evaluation of the progress of the learners during the course of a study. It can be used to;
· Delivers exam questions to the candidate
· Receives answers from the candidate
· Marks answers as correct or incorrect
· Totals marks achieved within a whole assessment session
· Gives immediate results - pass or fail.
6. Information communication Technology:- ICT (information and communications technology - or technologies) is an umbrella term that includes any communication device or application, encompassing: radio, television, cellular phones, computer and network hardware and software, satellite systems and so on, as well as the various services and applications associated with them, such as videoconferencing and distance learning. ICTs are often spoken of in a particular context, such as ICTs in education, health care, or libraries.
7. Technology based assessment (TBA):- Technology-based assessment techniques are powerful tools for improving teaching and learning. Schools are increasingly using these techniques for more timely, relevant and personalized teaching. These educational technologies help teachers develop students' literacy, learning and thinking skills.
8. Computer base technology (CBT):- It is a method of administering tests in which the responses are electronically recorded, assessed, or both.
9. Performance assessment; Performance assessment is a method of teaching and learning that involves both process and product. It is not just a testing strategy. Performance assessment tasks involve students in constructing various types of products for diverse audiences. Students also are involved in developing the process that leads to the finished product. Performance assessment measures what students can do with what they know, rather than how much they know. Performance assessment tasks are based on what is most essential in the curriculum and what is interesting to a student.
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