A digital exam from two perspectives

26 Feb 2020

A lot has been said about the benefits and limitations of digital exams for both teachers and students, but a list of pros and cons does not capture the actual experience. To find out first-hand what it is like to have a digital exam, we went straight to the source and asked a student and a teacher about their personal experience with the same exam. Here’s what they said, unedited.


The student

Currently being in my third year of studies at SBE, taking this digital exam was a new experience for me as I have never done it before. The need to remember to bring a pencil, a pen and a pencil sharpener was replaced by the need to remember my login details for the student portal (since I am always logged in on my own devices, I did not know my password by heart).


I experienced a major advantage related to the digital exam for both – multiple choice (MC) questions and open questions. For the MC questions, the advantage is that a couple of hours after finishing the exam, you already know how well you did. This is much more comfortable than having to wait 15 working days for the publication of the results. Moreover, one does not need to write down the answers given on a scrap sheet anymore. For the open part, the main advantage is that one can start writing without worrying to forget important aspects and later having to add them somehow and making a mess on the answer sheet. Obviously, it is much easier to correct and adjust the answers when typing them on a computer. Furthermore, I am sure the people correcting the exams are thankful not to be confronted with terrible handwriting any more …


The only disadvantage of taking the open exam in my opinion is that it can become confusing (especially when answering open questions with sub questions) always having to go back and forth between the ‘task description tab’ and the sub question where one is supposed to type the answer. It is much easier having the task description with all the details and numbers on a printed sheet of paper. Moreover, a downfall of the digital exam is that one can no longer ‘mark’ certain key words or take notes next to the posed questions.


All in all, I prefer taking a digital exam over a standard hand-written exam as the benefits outweigh the pitfalls in my opinion.


Titus von Pachelbel-Gehag, student SBE


The teacher

Last summer I was asked whether I wanted to organize my exam consisting of both multiple choice and open questions digitally. Of course! I guessed that there would be many advantages. I positively underestimated: there were even more advantages than I could think of upfront!


The digital exam made my life so much easier: making the exam, grading the exam and organizing the exam inspection went very smoothly. In the making of phase, I saved a lot of time with not having to make 4 versions of the multiple choice questions (and 4 versions of the answer key). In the grading phase, I did not have to flip through thousands of pages searching for the answer to a question, and … I could READ what students wrote! How awesome is that! Not only for me, but also for many students that do not have a very clear handwriting. Also, I did not have to carry heavy boxes full of exams (and could not lose an exam) and my colleague and I could start grading at the same time without moving these stuffed boxes from one grader to the other. Moreover, I did not have to manually add points for the open part I was grading and at the end I did not have to merge the multiple choice results with the open questions results. The digital exam inspection went also very smoothly and I again could easily read and process student’s comments.


Throughout the whole process I did not only learn a lot about working with the Testvision program, but I also learned to think even more carefully about making exam questions smartly. I would not want to organize a paper exam anymore!


Sanne Jongen, Teacher at SBE

Author: Tineke de Beaumont, Functional Support Digital Testing


This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License.



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Last updated: 27/02/20

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