Diversity in assessment

Computer-aided assessment (CAA)

Computer-aided assessment (CAA) involves the use of information and communication technologies to assess student learning. Whilst many will associate CAA with the use of multiple choice questions, there is far more variety in such assessments than was formerly possible, and now data-response, 'mix and match' and short answer questions are often used. A particular advantage is the speed at which it is possible for students to receive feedback. Assessments can be set up not only to issue a mark but also feedback on what the student needs to do to improve.

CAA is becoming more widely used, particularly for diagnostic and formative assessment, but with access to the right supervision, technical support and facilities, it can also be used for summative assessment. 

Testing higher order skills is more difficult, however, and there are also practical disadvantages. Teachers need to be trained in the design of suitable questions, set-up costs can be significant and there need to be contingency plans in place in case of technical breakdown.

For more information on how the University's Virtual Learning Environment (ELE) and QuestionMark Perception can be used for CAA, contact the Head of e-Learning, Matthew Newcombe.