3 Reasons Why Computer-Based Testing is Great for You

Synthia Stark

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I’m no educator, but I have worked closely with teachers and early childhood educators in the past, both in a volunteer and paid capacity, either on a research-oriented basis or on a consultatory one. I’m a graduate student, currently pursuing her second master’s degree, specifically in counselling psychology.

For now, I’m planning to become a therapist, and in the process, I’ve had to acquire a handful of practical experiences, out of my own effort and time, to at least get through the pearly gates of graduate school interviews and entrance exams.

For example, admissions requirements sometimes include having some years of relevant experience in the mental health field. However, the field of mental health is heavily regulated as a healthcare profession, so you can’t already work in the field if you don’t already have the credentials.

Thus, for many of us, that means volunteering on the side while we’re working and studying during our undergraduate studies. The charities and companies get free labour, but we get free experience and training that can push us closer to the coveted certification.

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I’m a middle-income person, like most of you reading this, so I’m not someone superbly rich or famous. I’m not poor either, but still, plenty of mountains had to be climbed just to get to this chapter of my life. I suppose you had plenty of mountains to climb on your own, too.

Even now, while in school, I’m still trying to garner relevant experiences as I work towards certification in the mental health field and potentially become a proper healthcare professional. In due time, I know I will be in a better place, financially, but for now, I’m sitting in a rather precarious position. Hopefully, it’s just temporary. I hope your obstacles are temporary as well.

When in graduate school, working a proper job is usually frowned upon by your peers and supervisors, since the research and work that goes into graduate school is supposed to be seen as a job, except you’re mostly paying the school with your tuition, instead of them paying you.

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If you’re super-rich, then you can easily focus on just your industry goals and the unwritten rules of graduate school, where you can volunteer and work to your heart's content.

Clinical certification from higher education is a very long-term pursuit, and in the process, it’s easy to get discouraged, where many people sometimes migrate onto alternative careers, as their exit strategy.

Along the way, some loopholes are garnered—such as opportunities to network with allied professionals, like those in education and teaching, who are always looking for mental health students to help support them, sometimes as teacher’s assistants, exam invigilators, and many more.

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Let’s put together an example. Some teachers require mental health students and allied experts to help them make sense of the behaviours and cultural shifts surrounding their students.

Perhaps a student has an exceptional need, like being gifted, and the teacher needs to create a customized plan to ensure that the student is properly engaged with the course material, as teachers are not replacements for therapists or doctors.

Sometimes, teachers also need help from others to figure out the best ways to help those students who are struggling in school. For example, adaptive and assistive technologies allow teachers to closely interact with software professionals and mental health workers to ensure that a student is able to learn properly, to ensure that they can graduate on time.

In essence, a teacher faces a gaggle of students, whether it is in person or virtually, and oftentimes, they put on many hats, where they operate as the impromptu therapist and foster parent, even though they are just one person, and the students represent thirty or more people.

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Online learning is a wondrous pursuit, where individuals can pace themselves until they feel ready to move onto the next unit. However, in any educational program, test-taking is another hurdle to master. Of greatest concern is whether or not a test actually measures one’s mastery of a specific concept and if those skill-sets can be transferred into the working world.

While these are notable concerns to have, this article will briefly explore the benefits of computer-based testing.

1. You Get Dynamic and Increasingly Customized Assessments

When preparing for tests online, assessments can be personalized to your individual learning needs. The difficulty level surrounding a question can easily be repurposed based on your prior responses and feedback.

You’re probably thinking that this is unfair. However, if you were struggling to understand material and have exceptional needs, then you at least need to reach a level that is comparable to their peers.

For example, if a student has a hard time understanding questions because of the vernacular employed, perhaps the questions could be written in more simplistic language, with a larger font.

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2. You Get Graded Quickly and Learn Much More

When teachers employ online tests, including those that have multiple choice or short answers, they can be scored pretty quickly, allowing you to have more time to go over your answers.

Quick grading also allows more time for teachers to provide collaborative and genuine feedback, encouraging you to actually understand the strengths and weaknesses of your prior tests, and improve based on what you learned. Thus, teachers have more time to teach, optimizing your level of learning within a single course.

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3. It Fosters Real-World Technological Skills

When preparing or writing extensively for an online test, you are employing the same kind of skills needed to write a report or assessment on a Word processing document or other similar interfaces.

While some of us have a preference for writing by hand, the children of tomorrow are going to spend more time typing their responses, instead of writing them down manually.

From an early age, online test-taking may teach you to do blog writing, collaborative editing, SEO optimization, website creation, and many more. Plus, you don’t have to be studying information technology (IT) to learn these skills — smart educators will know how to make their course material relevant to you, especially as the real world is constantly changing.

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