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Moving from pen/paper to a digital platform for test preparation

Moving from pen/paper to a digital platform for test preparation

Change of Mindset

Digital platforms and online assessments have tremendous untapped potential for helping students with test preparation. While pen-and-paper tests have long been the norm, they are increasingly being replaced by online assessments. The educational sector has begun to recognize the numerous benefits of digital testing, including the increased ease of marking and quicker, more detailed, and actionable feedback for students.


Several benefits come with switching to digital platforms for test preparation. These include the following.

1. Flexible Test Location Choices

Pen and paper tests often involve traveling to a specific location at a particular time to take them. Meanwhile, online tests can be taken anywhere without a location or time-based constraints, making them accessible to more people. This leads to flexibility for test takers as they can take practice tests in a manner that does not inconvenience them. It also saves traveling, logistics, and administrative costs. 

2. Faster Availability of Results

In the case of pen and paper tests, they need to be corrected manually; hence, it takes time for the test-taker to receive the test results. Online tests usually have AI-assisted marking, due to which results are displayed instantly. This innovation may remove human biases while maintaining the comparability of scores with those graded manually. However, the process should be supervised by humans to ensure that fairness is carried out during the exam.

3. Improved Support for Student Learning

Improved Student Learning

Digital assessments support student learning better than pen-and-paper assessments. This is because they simulate learning environments through user-friendly interfaces. They diagnose students’ learning gaps and drive personalized learning by providing timely and relevant student feedback, thus helping them achieve learning goals.

There are Challenges Too

Not all students and teachers are familiar with online examination systems. This presents a formidable challenge for them to take e-assessments and troubleshoot IT-related problems during on-screen tests. Other challenges include high investment costs and a need for more technical know-how about the concerns over online privacy and unauthorized access or use of personal data.

Some Groundwork is Required

Pen and paper tests consist of various question patterns, and it is necessary to adapt these features to digital assessments. For instance, some paper-based test items, like multiple choice, can easily translate to a digital platform. However, for multi-step problems, the transition may be more complex. The user interface for the digital testing platform must be straightforward, streamlined, and easy to use. Advanced technical knowledge should not be a prerequisite to giving online tests.

How to Mitigate Risks

To mitigate the risks of online assessments, highly adaptable platforms that highlight usability and accessibility must be created. Highscores is one platform that provides students with the necessary tools to excel, including adaptive assessments to prepare for SAT or ACT effectively.

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