Cloud Based Examination System is The Revolution Which is About to Come
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In the hyper-digitised world that we live in today, nearly every area of work is being reimagined and enhanced by integrating it with technology for greater efficiency and better outcomes. Education too is one such space that is constantly undergoing changes, with more advanced and agile tools replacing antiquated methods of teaching and learning. Why, then, should assessments and examinations still be subjected to time-consuming processes, mountains of paperwork, logistical hassles and manual evaluations? Thanks to the advent of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), it no longer does. The integration of ICTs in the examination process is greatly needed to overcome the lack of organisation and the inconsistencies that exist at various stages of executing large-scale tests. However, for most educational institutions, the high cost, lack of technical resources, and a complex ecosystem of stakeholders are a barrier to adopting ICT-driven learning and assessment systems.
Cloud technologies, then, offer a highly efficient and cost-effective alternative to educators for conducting examinations. The ease with which software as a service (SaaS) platforms facilitate easier first-time deployment of IT solutions for educational institutions makes, is a huge advantage, as they can purchase new services and features as and when required. By significantly lowering the costs of managing hardware and software, and minimising the need for onsite maintenance, cloud-based online examinations can simplify the otherwise tedious task of managing the process of conducting tests. Moreover, since most cloud platforms are built on a standardised technological infrastructure, IT resources can upgrade and customise them remotely.
How Educational Institutions Can Gain From Cloud-based Exams
Some of the most decisive examinations in India like CAT, NEET, and JEE are not only tough for the students taking them to crack, but also a logistical nightmare for the people conducting them. Setting the paper each year along with evaluating and grading the tests is a difficult task for the administrators. While CAT was the first exam to go online in 2009, NEET and JEE only recently moved to a computer-based testing format. However, these examinations are still conducted at physical centres and involve logistics that are extremely difficult to manage with over a million candidates. But with cloud-based examination systems and infrastructures, the internet can be leveraged not only for conducting these examinations remotely, but also to deliver real-time and instant assessment results. Improved accessibility to the internet and use of multiple connected devices has made cloud-based online testing a reality, and its potential in the future is huge.
Furthermore, online examinations can also follow an adaptive pattern of testing with the help of analytical tools, wherein the system will adapt to the patterns within the students’ responses. This feature is critical in designing question papers that are unique for each person taking the test, meaning that no questions are repeated. As educational institutes can test the candidates without having to physically verify which candidate receives which set, it significantly reduces the likelihood of cheating. Online cloud-based testing can also allow a vast number of resources and multiple references to be used for the purpose of creating multi-level tests and different question types.
As cloud-based tests can be deployed immediately and reused multiple times, the virtual nature of applications and infrastructure deployed on a common cloud platform make it easier to scale them as required. This is particularly useful for applications where the demand for ICT resources rises at regular intervals. At the same time, cloud platforms provide educational institutions to overcome budgetary challenges without compromising on the quality and execution of tests.
The biggest benefit of online testing is for the test providers, as it gives them a great deal of flexibility to create, manage, and evaluate tests. There is a need for educational institutions and governing bodies to invest in ICT and cloud-based solutions in order to create a standardised and efficient system to conduct high stakes tests and evaluate test takers. The examples of JEE and CAT can serve as a useful case study for other institutions to leverage the available technologies like ICTs and cloud computing, and deploy them on a large scale in the near future, while significantly reducing the existing costs and logistical hassles.