Computerized Exams: The Perfect Solution after Suspending Universities

Computerized exams being implemented in universities is one of the best moves taken by the Minister of Higher Education, Dr. Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, in a series of decisions to improve assessment in higher education.

This has been a successful step anticipatory of the challenge we now face: Coronavirus (COVID-19), especially with many officials stating that they expect suspending face-to-face learning to extend to the end of the second semester.  

Many universities have already started digitizing their assessment process by using computerized exams systems in their different faculties and are reaping the sow of their efforts.

1. Suspending Universities: Remote Computerized Exams

Remote computerized exams, which the Ministry of Higher Education has already paved the way for, are the perfect solution to continue studying in universities.

 It’s the only way now for us not to cancel exams that students have studied hard for all year. This comes especially after the success of the computerized exams official first trial under the supervision of the Minister of Higher Education.

In this trial, 3226 students from 21 medicine faculties all over Egypt simultaneously had a trial test using Qorrect assessment system.

As a result, several faculties adopted Qorrect, after the minister stated, shown in the video, that this is a true opportunity for universities to start training students on such a model (know the answer to this question “Can a Computer-Based Assessment Grade Essay Questions?”).

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That means we won’t start planning to implement computerized exams from scratch. There’s already a plan being implemented by the ministry. And a lot of students and educational organizations have used computerized exams system and tried it; the trial was successful as well!

2. Remote Tests: Computerized Exams vs. Coronavirus

Many countries are now looking into conducting remote computerized exams for university students after the spread of coronavirus. Such a step must be looked into and studied well, especially after cancelling midterms in Cairo University and the Minister of Education’s statement that he expects the 2-week period to be extended till the end of the second term (read “6 Answers to All your Questions on Computer Based Exams”).

computerized exams - coronavirus - remote learning

According to the last report by Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), higher education Egyptian students in 2018/2019 were 3.1 million.

Then, how can we conduct university exams at their specified date and limit the spread of the virus among these students? Qorrect’s team came up with the solution, offering set of special features that will allow us to do just that.

5 Powerful Things Remote Assessments: Computerized Exams

computerized exams - 5 steps

  1. The ability to do the exam at home. Using Qorrect, professors are able to create exams and send them to all students at the same time. Students can take these tests using computers, laptops, tablets, or even their smart mobile phones. This way they can do their tests without having to be exposed to the virus by heading to the university.
  2. The invigilator has full control of the camera. The invigilator can monitor the student’s own camera during the test, to prevent cheating.
  3. The ability to directly communicate with the invigilator. This was another challenge facing our ability to enforce remote testing in our computerized exams software.

coronavirus - remote tests

What if students face some obstacle (any quick question to the invigilator) during the exam? The ability to communicate directly with the invigilator comes handy in this situation. In case a student has any question, he/she can directly communicate with invigilator.

And vice versa, in case the invigilator needs to tell a student anything, they can instantly do this. Qorrect assessment software will be perfect in this case. You will notice the Minister of Higher Education’s ability to communicate easily with the invigilators through the system, in the video above. 

  1. Controlling students’ screens. Qorrect team added a special feature to the invigilator’s user, that is, the ability to control what the students see and don’t see (they can’t open a new window or browser or any files, for example, during the exam). However, this feature is applied only after our team sets it up in the computer.
  2. Automatic grading done in minutes. As soon as the exam is over, the student’s screen closes, the invigilators are notified, and their grade shows up.

If the student didn’t end the exam before the time ends, once the time is up, the screen closes and the result is revealed. Grading is done automatically and all reports on the student’s academic level and the test’s difficulty rate can be made in a few minutes.

This guarantees, to the student, that the results are not connected to other students. The student doesn’t have to wait until all their colleagues are done, at home, to see the result.

Computerized exams systems should be secure, easy-to-use, and simple. Find all 3 features by requesting a FREE demo now.

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3. What Are the Measures Taken by Educational Institutions to Limit COVID-19?

According to the UNESCO report, last edited on March 16, 2020, 85 countries closed their schools for fear of COVID-19. However, 15 other countries closed only some of their schools. The next figure from the UNESCO website shows this data.    

computerized exams - coronavirus - unesco - number of schools closed

Source: UNESCO official website

In Egypt, all universities issued a series of strong decisions in the framework of the precautionary measures taken by the state to fight COVID-19. For example, Al Wafd newspaper says Dr. Mohamed Othman El Khosht—Cairo University President—took the following decision after the WHO announced COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic:

  1. Creating a website to upload all curriculum and to be a place to ask questions to professors at each of the different faculties. The curriculum will be easy to read, PDF, PowerPoint, and Word files.
  2. Using a number of remote learning applications.
  3. Dedicating 100 million pounds to the university’s quick digital change in this crisis.
  4. Supporting faculties in their efforts to turn towards comprehensive remote learning and digital education system, third generation university plan.

computerized exams - coronavirus - crisis management

4. Egyptian Universities vs. Universities in Other Countries

We have the right to brag a little here about the actions taken in Egypt compared to other countries. For example, the New York Times says in its report on March 13, 2020, that the US universities are not really ready for remote learning and consequently remote testing.

harvard - university - computerized exams - coronavirus
The report reveals that “Undergraduates at places like Harvard, Stanford and M.I.T. will largely have no problem getting online to complete their work.”
However, a “study found that roughly 20 percent of [US] students have trouble with basic technology needs. Their data plans are capped, their computers break, or their connections fail.”

On the other hand, in Egypt, once the President announced his decision to suspend studying in schools and universities, Dr. Amr Talaat, the Minister of Communication and Information Technology, stated that there will be websites available to be accessed by students for free in watch lectures online.
He explained to ON E channel, in the video, that “free platforms have been provided to university professors and teachers to upload lectures and lessons on them.”

In addition, Engineer Adel Hamid, Etisalat network’s Chief Executive Officer says that the company decided to increase its customers’ internet bundles by 20% so that students can remote learn with no extra burdens.
This will definitely make the process of computerized exams management much easier, according to computerized exams specialists at Qorrect.

Wondering what’s next in the assessment tech? Check out Qorrect assessment system Youtube channel now!

The Art of Crisis Management

Martin Reeves, Nikolaus Lang, and Philipp Carlsson-Szlezak—from BCG—recently published an article at Harvard Business Review on crisis management titled “Lead Your Business Through the Coronavirus Crisis.”
In the article, they say we should reflect on what we have learned. “Rather than heaving a sigh of relief and returning to normal routines when the crisis subsides, efforts should be made not to squander a valuable learning opportunity. Even while the crisis is unfolding, responses and impacts should be documented to be later reviewed and lessons distilled.”

This too shall pass. But when it does, the whole world will be changed for good. Even the way we manage our societies will completely change. Hopefully this is our chance to reconsider a lot of things in our educational system and change them to the better as well.

To know more about Qorrect, the comprehensive assessment system, please press here.

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About Yasmine Nasr

Yasmine Nasr has been part of the content world since 2017. She has worked as a translator, content writer, editor, copyeditor, and English language instructor. She holds a BA degree in English, Translation, and Literature, plus a degree in literary and media translation from the American University in Cairo. Today Yasmine is a content writer interested in education technology, especially exams autograding, computer-based exams, evaluation & assessment systems, and LMS, in relation to academic accreditation with the aim to improve exams quality and student learning and experience.

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