Can computer-based testing achieve quality and efficiency in assessment?

Paul Bocij, Andrew Greasley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper reports findings of a two year study concerning the development and implementation of a general-purpose computer-based assessment (CBA) system at a UK University. Data gathering took place over a period of nineteen months, involving a number of formative and summative assessments. Approximately 1,000 students, drawn from undergraduate courses, were involved in the exercise. The techniques used in gathering data included questionnaires, observation, interviews and an analysis of student scores in both conventional examinations and computer-based assessments. Comparisons with conventional assessment methods suggest that the use of CBA techniques may improve the overall performance of students. However it is clear that the technique must not be seen as a "quick fix" for problems such as rising student numbers. If one accepts that current systems test only a relatively narrow range of skills, then the hasty implementation of CBA systems will result in a distorted and inaccurate view of student performance. In turn, this may serve to reduce the overall quality of courses and - ultimately - detract from the student learning experience. On the other hand, if one adopts a considered and methodical approach to computer-based assessment, positive benefits might include increased efficiency and quality, leading to improved student learning.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1999


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