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Frequently asked questions about on-screen assessment

What is e-assessment?

E-assessment stands for electronic assessment, and is the use of information technology to assess performance and measure student learning. It is sometimes called on-screen testing or online assessment. These tests could include on-screen and online tests. Continue reading for more about the different types of e-assessment.

Young student taking an exam in school on a computer showing a bar chart question type
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What is an item bank?

An item bank is a repository of test items that belong to a testing program, as well as all information about those items. Item banking is the development and management of a pool of high-quality test questions.

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What are item types / question types?

These are the types of exam questions, including multiple choice or essay style questions. In the Surpass Platform, you can choose from a wide range of question types, including Multiple Response, Graphing questions, Either/Or, Fill in the Blank, Essay, Select From a List, Extended Matching, File Attach, Drag and Drop, Spreadsheet, Fraction Entry, Audio Recording/Capture and Custom Questions.

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What are adaptive tests / CAT tests?

Computerized Adaptive Tests (CAT) – also called adaptive assessment – adapt to the test-taker’s ability level, in terms of the questions presented to them. Computerized adaptive testing uses AI algorithms to personalize the test to every candidate.  Read our explainer article about CAT.

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What is the difference between ‘online assessment’ and ‘computer-based testing’?

Although these terms are often used alongside each other, computer-based testing refers to any examination taken on a computer, whether this is using a touch screen, keyboard, or other input method. Unlike ‘online testing’, a computer-based test doesn’t need to be connected to the internet while the test is being taken.

Certain tests, such as Computer Adaptive Tests (CAT), are typically built to be taken online because the content of the test changes according to the ability of the candidate. Other test types such as fixed test forms or Linear-On-The-Fly tests (LOFT) can be taken online or downloaded ahead of time and stored securely until they are unlocked to be taken securely offline by the test-taker.

The Surpass Platform is designed for resilience, so you can make use of advanced questions and simulations securely and have peace of mind, even in areas where internet connections are intermittent, or completely unavailable. See how organizations like yours have overcome their testing challenges with Surpass in our case studies.

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What is online proctoring?

Online proctoring (sometimes referred to as ‘remote proctoring’, ‘eproctoring’ or ‘remote invigilation’) is the observation of a candidate through audio and visual links over the internet whilst conducting their examination, meaning candidates can securely sit their exam in a convenient location such as the home or workplace, without the risk of malpractice or compromising item security. Online proctoring can be live, or using a ‘record and review’ solution.

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Are online invigilation and remote proctoring the same thing?

Yes. The term ‘proctor’ is the same as ‘invigilator’, with each preferred in different regions of the world. Both online invigilation and remote proctoring refer to the observation of a candidate through audio and visual links over the internet whilst conducting their examination, meaning candidates can securely sit their exam in a convenient location such as the home or workplace, without the risk of malpractice or compromising item security.

Surpass work with numerous Remote Proctoring partners and provide a variety of options including ‘Live’ and ‘Record and Review’ proctoring, lockdown functionality, and the ability to re-play footage at high speed to better detect malpractice for all remotely proctored tests. When it comes to choosing the correct Remote Proctoring provider to work with, Surpass is platform agnostic, and will recommend the best options based on your requirements.

To find out more about the benefits that remote proctoring can bring to your organization, get in touch with our Test Delivery team.

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What are ‘psychometrics’ and how do they help me create exams?

Psychometrics is the science of testing, using data and statistics to judge the difficulty of an item and the ability of the test-taker. Psychometrics can provide detailed feedback on what is working well in the test, and why. This drives continuous improvement, and also provides evidence of test validity. Surpass has tools integrated into the reporting function that can help you report on these statistics, and trained psychometricians can help you analyze your test items to ensure you are getting the most from your item bank, whilst creating the most effective and fair tests. As well as providing vital information about your items, psychometric analysis helps you to create invaluable audit trails for heavily regulated exams.

Hear more from Amanda Dainis, CEO and Lead Psychometrician at Dainis & Co in this podcast about the increasing role technology has to play in test development.

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Is computer-based scoring the same as ‘AI marking’?

It is easy to confuse these two terms. For objective answer items, such as multiple choice or fill in the blanks, computerized marking in Surpass is fast and accurate. Scores for items can be set during the item writing phase, and weighted marking options allow you full control over different item types.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) marking is a more recent technology used to score essay question types automatically. This automated scoring requires a large number of responses to use in training the scoring software. Surpass has AI technology that could assist you –  please get in touch if you’re interested in finding out more.

For more complex situations where human marking is still essential, the Surpass Platform includes both human and e-scoring technology to help create a more efficient, reliable process. Quality of marking can be monitored using seed items to benchmark the testing progress, ensuring examiners are working to a consistent standard. Our smart-marking technology can also reduce the scoring workload.

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What is Surpass?

Surpass Assessment is a global provider of on-screen assessment services and technology.

The Surpass Platform is a market-leading professional end-to-end assessment platform used for the authoring, banking, administration, delivery, scoring, and reporting of computer and paper-based tests.

Find out why organizations across a range of industries choose Surpass for their assessment program.

Why organizations choose Surpass
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“A key factor in our selection of Surpass was how clean and simple the authoring environment is. Our Clinicians, who produce our question items, do not have time to learn a complex IT process, but we knew we could just give them access to the tool and they would have no problems creating questions.”

Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
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Can I use Surpass to create and deliver exams in my industry?

The Surpass Platform powers exams in many different sectors, including language, healthcare, finance and IT assessments. Organizations such as Caribbean Examinations Council and Michigan Language Assessment (MLA) are using the innovative item types and rich media functionality in Surpass to recreate true-to-life testing simulations. See MLA’s winning development which won the inaugural Surpass Innovation Award in 2022.

With Surpass, you can customize your exam to meet the exact requirements of your qualification, whilst being considerate of the candidate experience. Whether you’re delivering credentialing exams or continuous professional development (CPD), Surpass Assessment can help you to develop and deliver quality tests with modern assessment technology.

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How do I get new item types in Surpass?

The CQT Framework in Surpass allows for rapid Customizable Question Types development of item types, and lets Certification and Awarding organizations develop new, advanced question types or simulations with every functional requirement tailormade to their needs. CQTs can be a cost-effective way to enhance the authenticity of assessments as they improve the engagement within a test, and also allow you to test new areas like problem-solving and creativity.

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Can I integrate my system with Surpass?

Yes, you can. The extensive range of API resources in Surpass means you can use the flexibility to integrate your item bank, portal or delivery driver with the Surpass Platform.

Can I get training in how to use Surpass?

Yes, Surpass customers benefit from excellent support and training as part of onboarding, from comprehensive online help and knowledge banks via a dedicated portal, to customizable remote product training.

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Student taking proctored/invigilated exam online at home on laptop

Does Surpass offer exam feedback for candidates?

Yes.  Good exam feedback can be fundamental to a test-taker’s progression – whether they’re in school and the test is determining areas they need to focus their study, or they’re a professional completing Continuous Professional Development (CPD).

Examination feedback tools in Surpass are designed to work on multiple levels, so if you want to show candidates which questions they answered well or not, this can be available as soon as they click ‘finish’, along with descriptions about why they answered incorrectly. Alternatively, if you want to sit with a candidate and explain to them how they can improve their studies, you can export data from the marking/scoring and results screens ready for a face-to-face meeting.

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