The DigiCompEdu Framework says “Assessment can be a facilitator or bottleneck to innovation in education. When integrating digital technologies into learning and teaching, we must consider how digital technologies can enhance existing assessment strategies. At the same time, we must also consider how they can be used to create or to facilitate innovative assessment approaches. Digitally-competent educators should be able to use digital technologies within assessment with those two objectives in mind.
E-assessment is becoming more widely used by educational institutions and examination awarding bodies, particularly those with multiple or international study centres and those which offer remote study courses. Online assessment is used primarily to measure cognitive abilities, demonstrating what has been learned after a particular educational event has occurred, such as the end of an instructional unit or chapter, although the use of automated testing can provide formative feedback in near real time
E assessment can provide efficiencies through allowing online marking and uploading of results.
To assist in the sharing of assessment items across disparate systems, global standards such as the IMS Question and Test Interoperability specification have emerged.
However, for large-scale examining bodies the transition from traditional paper-based exam assessment to fully electronic assessment can take time. Practical considerations such as having the necessary IT hardware to enable large numbers of students to sit an electronic examination at the same time, as well as the need to ensure security, are among the concerns that need to be resolved to accomplish this transition. Question and Answer systems also require the development and updating of question banks.
As in the example of Learning Analytics, despite the widespread use of e-Assessment in economically advanced countries, there are limited documented examples of its use in developing countries.
The University of Rwanda, through the UNESCO funded KFIT project, has been developing e-Assessment and intends to extend its implementation following the period pf project funding.
H. Ndume, S.I. Dasuki & P. Ogedebe (2014) from Baze University in Abuja, Nigeria have published a paper in the IEEE journal, African Journal of Computing & ICT, entitled ‘E-Assessment Systems for Universities In Developing Countries: A Nigerian Perspective’. They say the present paper based examination systems used in Nigerian universities are resource and time consuming. More seriously, they say the present systems are “marred with problems” including “massive examination leakages, demand for gratification by teachers, bribe-taking by supervisors and invigilators of examinations.”
The paper focuses on the technical description of the development of an e-assessment system for university entrance and they argue that this system should be extended for students sitting term time and final assessment exams. But they note that the successful implementation of such a system is dependent on sufficient resources including infrastructural support, electricity supply, and skilled ICT workers.
Ndume et al (2014) also draw attention to the limitations of multiple choice questions. This reflects wider pedagogic considerations around e-assessment from educationalists in advanced economies. Multiple choice questions may fail to reflect the practical application of competence in, for example, many TVET programmes and focus excessively on cognitive knowledge.
Advances in the development of automated semantic systems and of Artificial Intelligence may help overcome these limitations.