Advantages and disadvantages of online examination system

To quote Johan Cruijff, one of the greatest football players ever: "elk voordeel heb zijn nadeel", Dutch for "Every advantage has a disadvantage". This also is true for an online examination system.

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What are the advantages of an online examination?

An online examination system has plenty of advantages: 

  1. It saves paper. 
    You never have to print an exam for your students and hand them out. Saves paper. Saves trees. Everybody happy. 
  2. It saves time. 
    You can setup an exam in such a way that it will auto-grade itself. If you only use multiple choice questions you never have to check an exam again. The online exam system will take care of that hassle. Completly automated. 
  3. It saves more time.
    The distribution of the exam doens't take you any time. Just upload the email addressess of your students and send them an invite. And after the exam they get their result instantly. 
  4. It saves you money.
    You don't need to buy any paper. Sending an email is free. On top of that you save on the logistics: your students don't have to assemble in classroom to take the exam. They can do it within a given time frame from their own device. You don't have to rent a classroom. You don't have to hire someone to check the students taking the exam. 
  5. It saves the student money. 
    Students don't have to travel to a specific location to conduct the exam. So even for students from remote area's it's possible to take the exam. 
  6. It's more secure.
    You can make a big question bank with a lot of questions. Every student gets a random selection from that question bank. So it's of little use to share the questions among the exam takers to give them a head start. Try that on paper ;)

What are the disadvantages of an online examination?

And now for the disadvantages:

  1. You have to keep in mind that your students will take the exam on their own device in their own time with nobody to check up on them, so you have to alter your questions to provide for this situation. You have to ask questions which are not easily to be retrieved from books or the internet. Or you can add a timer to each question so their is no time to search for the answer. 
  2. Open text questions are possible, but they don't auto-grade, so you have to check them yourself.
  3. An online exam system is a little bit more susceptible for fraud. So you have to keep that in mind if you setup your exam. Do you want to share the results immediatly after the result? In that case you can setup a question bank to solve the issue of fraud. Handing out all questions & Answers of a question bank to students is ok. Because they have to learn all the questions & answers by heart. And when they're done they master the material. Read more about proctored exams.

Now you know what the advantages and disadvantages are of an online examination, you may want to read more about the difference between a test and an examination.

Why use an online examination system?

There are lots of reasons you want to use an online exam system, but the main reason is the overwhelming advantages you get form using such an online exam system instead of the good old fashioned paper exam.

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Frequently asked questions

✔️ What are the advantages of an online examination?
It saves paper, time, money and it's more secure.

✔️ What are the disadvantages of an online examination?
An online exam system is a little bit more susceptible for fraud and open text questions don't auto-grade.

✔️ Why use an online examination system?
The advantages are overwhelming compared to a traditional exam.

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