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The year 1990’s was a turning point for technology and so as with the Human Resources and Testing industries. The most significant advancement at that time was computer-based tests or testing which has grown exponentially driven by the increased coverage and speed of the computer technology. Also, costs were somewhat reduced which it made possible for a lot of industries to take advantage of and tap into computer-based technology.

What are Computer Based Tests?

Computer-based tests have become popular since as many organisations have adapted this technology to their respective systems. This had made delivery of large scale tests faster and more efficient. In fact, many testing and assessment platforms or programs online offer computer-based tests primarily. Today, this is considered as the standard form of test delivery. This has made testing programs more feasible for licensing, administration, and certification purposes. According to Prometric, “computer-based testing (CBT) is an efficient way to provide a secure, consistent environment for certification and licensure while significantly enhancing candidate experience.”

The success of computer-based tests doesn’t come without any glitch. There has been blunders and even doubts along the way as to how this system could efficiently deliver in contrast to the manual process of taking tests. Numerous questions were thrown out regarding the security of computer-based tests, psychometric quality, and reliability of test delivery. There are also problems relating access to testing centres or platforms. In addition to such questions are complaints such as how weather could adversely affect such technologies and also testing biases. More so, computer-based tests do come with a hefty price tag. This is understandably more expensive compared to manual testing methods as it makes use of advanced technology.  

The increased demand for computer-based tests has put an enormous toll on developers prompting them to speed up and produce results that can heighten security measures while maintaining speed and reliability of testing procedures. Computer-based tests are said to be tailor-fit to those who are technologically savvy or are comfortable with using computers rather than with the traditional pencil and paper mode of testing. This can be the liability for some people who are not so proficient with handling computers. 

Some of the most common technological edge or advantages of computer-based tests are:

Test items are easy to understand and follow through.

You get faster access to your test results and scores which you can readily check out online or follow a particular period of the computer based tests.

Interactive features make it easier to manage tests such as the online timer which can help you track your time while taking tests and other HELP functions which allow you to take your tests in a breeze.

If in case you would need headphones for audio tests that would require you to listen to individual recordings or instructions, then you can easily adjust volume and also play back over and over again when necessary.  

You can also edit your answers right then and there on the screen or redo them without any mess or erasures that can ruin the integrity or validity of your test sheets.

Convenient and wouldn’t take much effort or time.

Also has the potential to gauge and quantify the examinee’s aptitude, capabilities, and performance because of data gathered from tests; that which a manual test can’t do.

Speedy and cost-effective as it reduces time burned for test administration and evaluation or reporting of scores.

Computer-based tests are readily accessed online and in a more regular fashion as compared to waiting in line when signing up for manual tests.

Simulation and visualisation have increased testing proficiency and adaptability. Examinees are given well-pixelated images with high resolution providing more information about the test items.

Real-time assessments with videos and audio recording of trials or phone simulations (if and when applicable) help many employers and other industries examine human interactions and assess vast expertise and skills of examinees.

The use of pen-and-paper method is still evident; although computer based tests are fast becoming the most dominant player in testing.  The security and reliability offered by computer-based tests which Mettl provides clients is what makes people more confident with the system. Computer-based tests or also referred to as computerised adaptive tests (CATs) have come a long way. This was the end-product of years of research by a pool of psychometricians and IT specialists. Many major testing facilities have incorporated computer-based testing programs in their organisations and from a scholar’s standpoint; this is taking a large-scale paradigm shift as far as the testing industry is concerned. Continuous research and testing shape the future of computer-based tests.

This may not be a perfect system altogether but is far better than its manual counterpart regarding speed, reliability, accuracy, and security. These are primarily the key factors that make computer-based tests the stronger route as compared to other methods known so far. Program research and other empirical studies are being conducted to improve the system of computer-based tests further. Researchers for computer based tests have come a long way since the idea came along in the 1970’s. Paper-based assessments have been computerised to be utilised for modern computer-based testing. This is reminiscent of the late 1940’s and 1950’s – the period wherein paper-based tests were at its strongest, and computer-based tests were just part of a psychobabble – an idea or a dream project at that.

The extensive use of computer-based tests in all the main industries also urged psychometricians and IT experts alike to ensure that test results are accurate, fair, and reliable. The growth has been analogous, as experts would put it. This also increased the challenge and demanded from psychometricians and large assessment platforms like Mettl to ensure that the evaluation models and modules are free from contamination and that these programs are well-calibrated and operate in a smooth and seamless fashion. The extensive simulation and exposure to different stimulus make computer-based tests the assessment instrument of today and the future.