An eExam (e-exam) is a timed, supervised, summative assessment conducted using each candidate's own computer running a standardised operating system.Such examinations have advantages over paper-based exams, and can include new multi-media, simulation and software test items which give higher validity in respect of professional work practice.
Electronic exams offer benefits such as ease of marking, reduced need to read illegible handwriting, saving of time and raw materials and reduced logistical overheads.
- eExam System: the first use of any eExam. for the award of a degree was in November 2009 at the University of Tasmania. It was subsequently adopted for university entrance examinations by the Tasmanian Qualifications Authority in 2011. In 2016 the eExam system became the subject of a national project in Australian universities. Security methods limit access to the eExam USB flash drive, prevent use of all communication channels, and require a unique desktop security image photograph for every sitting. The source code is available under open source GPL licences.
- CQUniversity Australia - eExam trial at the School of Engineering and Technology: A commercial product, Exam Pro software, was used in a supervised e-exam consisting of short answer and essay-type questions.
- Abitti: the mission of the Abitti project is to transform all university entrance assessments in Finland to eExams by 2020. The source code is available under a GPLv3 license.
- RU exam system: this uses a Linux-based bootable USB exam system for students' laptops at Reykjavik University
- Secure-Exam-Environment: from Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt uses Moodle on a Knoppix-flavoured Linux distribution
Many innovations face reactionary challenges in the social, political and technical spheres. Objections focus on the unreliability of computer equipment or the potential for cheating. Some 'hacks' against eExams use cooling of the computer RAM to 0 degrees Celsius, when the contents can be preserved for about 45 seconds. This is irrelevant if the exam question paper is published after the assessment and open source software is used (since the material is put in the public domain anyway). These criticisms have been answered by a risk tree comparison with paper-based examinations, finding the typing and handwriting in examinations are similarly secure.
The challenges of e-exams are: usability issues during the exam, increased stress level due to unfamiliarity with e-exam systems and inadequate functionality.
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