With colleges and universities closed for on-campus instruction due to COVID-19, many professors had no option but to deliver online tests and quizzes for the first time this semester. We’ve heard that going online can be difficult and time-consuming, particularly for the first time. So, here are some tips on how to deliver online tests and quizzes.
Tip 1 – Create a good test
You first need to start with a good test. The same principles apply to online and paper exams when creating content (e.g., test questions) for an exam. In higher education, the primary reason to give a test is to determine the mastery of materials covered in the course. Your test should be valid, reliable, and fair.
Test validity is how well a test is measuring what it is intended to measure. For example, if you are testing knowledge of accounting and you give a test about economics, you cannot make a conclusion about the students’ understanding of accounting.
Reliability refers to the consistency of test scores. Assuming that a student’s knowledge and the course materials are constant, a student should receive an identical score on your exam each time it is administered. If you are reusing questions from a previous exam, you should also review their item statistics to ensure each question is well-written.
Fairness relates to bias and avoiding complicated language not necessarily needed to measure content mastery. 1
Tip 2 – Author your test
Learning management systems (LMS), such as Canvas and Blackboard, have online resources to help teachers with how to deliver online tests and quizzes. Typically, building an exam is a multistep process of creating the overall exam, adding each question by type (e.g., with a multiple-choice question, the stem, distractors, and correct response), and assigning point values. After you’ve created your exam, you should preview it before it is deployed to students.
Tip 3 – Consider the timing window and test duration
When delivering online tests and quizzes, a lot can go wrong outside of your control on test day. For example, a student’s internet connection might be slow or unavailable. You should consider leaving ample time for the testing window when the exam will become available and end and lengthening the test duration. TImed tests are often stressful. If not necessary, consider having no time limit.
Tip 5 – don’t leave it to the last minute
Particularly if this is your first time, leave yourself extra time to create your online exam. Authoring an online exam will take several hours. Universities have instructional design teams and testing centers ready to help.
Tip 6 – do a practice test
Don’t assume students will be familiar with how to take a test online. Consider delivering an ungraded practice test. Use a similar format for your upcoming exam. The practice test will not only help your student, but it also will give you a “dry run” before your “real” exam.
Tip 7 – address cheating
Students cheat, and it will be easier if the exam is delivered remotely. Just like paper, you’ll need to consider ways to deter cheating such as online proctoring tools. If you’re concerned about maintaining academic integrity, consider alternative measures to assess content master.
With GradeHub, we help universities with a smarter way to process answer sheets all within Canvas or Blackboard using any scanner. Instructors can use their same test, probably printed from a Word document. So, there’s no need to author an exam in your LMS. Paper has many advantages to curtail cheating, and you don’t need to rely on the internet. Proctoring is done in the lecture hall by the instructor and TAs. Once the exam is finished, GradeHub’s powerful reports are built right into the instructor’s LMS login. And, grades sync to the grade book automatically.
To learn more, chat with us online. You can scheduled a demo on my calendar there too.
Mark Espinola CEO + Co-founder
Balogh, Jennifer Elaine. A Practical Guide to Creating Quality Exams. Intelliphonics, 2016.