The impact of technology on the validity of assessment in large scale public examinations

The impact of technology on the validity of assessment in large scale public examinations

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The impact of technology on the validity of assessment in large scale public examinations

With a track record in public examinations that spans over six decades, the West AfricanExaminations Council presents some of the challenges and innovations in the conduct of highstake examinations in Nigeria. The major challenges identified were standardization ofassessment tools, issues with item banking and item selection, uniformity and fairness inscoring assessment tests, effective supervision and invigilation of examinations, prevalenceof fake results and certificates and the menace of examination malpractice. WAEC is involvedin large scale assessment involving achievement tests covering seventy seven (77) subjects foran average of about two million (2,000,000) candidates annually. The paper describes varioustechnologies adopted to continually improve on the validity of the Council’,s examinations inview of the stated challenges. These include computer solutions for Online Registration,incorporating an Offline Registration Module for rural schools, Online Validation ofCandidates’, examination details, Online Result Verification, Adaptation of the Item ResponseTheory (IRT) for item analysis and e-Item Banking, Remote e-Marking of essay scripts usingDongles and Internet Data Cards, Photo Embossment and QR Codes on certificates and theCandidates’, Identity Verification, Attendance, Malpractice and Post ExaminationManagement Systems (CIVAMPEMS). An analysis of the impact of these solutions shows asteady improvement in the reliability and validity of WAEC examinations. The deployment ofthese innovations especially CIVAMPEMS had engendered a steady reduction in examinationmalpractice cases recorded in the various diets of the examination.

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