Digital exams: authentic, accessible, automated, secure and controversial

It’s so hard to escape from the pressures of university exams! We’ll be looking at arguments around whether using technology can reduce or increase this stress for students and staff.

Rows of black ticks against a pink background. Look closely and you notice one solitary cross.

Join us for a discussion of recent publications about digital solutions for high-stakes exams.

If you only read one thing – make it The future of assessment: five principles, five targets for 2025, Jisc’s recent report on how to make assessment ‘more authentic, accessible, appropriately automated, continuous and secure.’

Questions to consider

  • How do the ideas presented match up with your own experience of (digital) high-stakes exams?
  • What are the advantages/disadvantages of digital exams for students, staff and institutions?
  • Based on the readings and your own experience, is this the future of assessment?

Further readings

Masterman, E., (2018) Typed versus handwritten essay exams: is there a need to recalibrate the gauges for digital assessment? A literature review of the differences between typed and handwritten summative assessment.

Hillier, M., (2015). e-Exams with student owned devices: Student voices. A study in which students were given a choice between traditional and typed (BYOD) exams.

Allan, S. (2020). Migration and transformation: a sociomaterial analysis of practitioners’ experiences with online exams. A theoretical argument about technological assumptions around digital exams.

Brunel’s Digital Assessment blog contains numerous posts charting the university’s use of e-exams. Posts especially relevant to our discussion include

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