Online Assessment

Online Assessment

Seth Mayotte (University of Minnesota, USA)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0315-8.ch038
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Abstract

The continuing development of online assessment capitalizes on the advantages of computerized and online technologies to improve the effectiveness and efficiencies of assessing student learning. The online environment allows for the development of complex, interactive communications between the learner and the assessment system. This presents both new opportunities and new challenges in assessment design. A review of traditional issues and best practices is essential in taking advantage of new technologies and incorporating them into new assessment designs. Understanding these factors will help to advance the field and improve future learning and assessment.
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Introduction

Online assessment is an emerging field that utilizes technology in a networked environment to improve the quality and efficiency of assessing learner’s knowledge, skills, and abilities. The development of online assessment has been driven by two factors that have been essential to the goals of assessment since the 1900’s: complexity and efficiency.

Advances in technology are being integrated into assessment design and implementation in many fields. Current research studies the effectiveness of interactive computer games and simulations in medical and military training (R. Perez, 2008,). However, care must be given in the evaluation of online assessment tools so as not to rush into use a faulty tool (E. Baker, H., O’Neil, 2006.). Item response theory (IRT) is being used to aid in the construction and quality of computerized adaptive testing (CAT) systems. Online assessments have the capabilities to present more complex scenarios to the learner (e.g., multimedia, interaction). Online assessment is being used to streamline the quality of testing in diverse communities and with learners of differing abilities. Technical challenges remain in ensuring the testing environment is not compromised during assessments.

Computerized testing allows for automated scoring and simplified grading. Rather than having to hire someone to grade tests, they can be run through a scantron machine for scoring.

Assessment is a broad discipline that can mean many different things applied to many different settings. This entry will focus on assessment as the process of evaluating a learner’s proficiency in a given knowledge-base or skill set. Assessment is defined here as an evidence-based evaluation of a learner’s proficiency. We will focus on educational settings, but the principles we discuss can be more broadly applied to many other training, learning, and developmental settings.

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