How Transitioning from Paper Tests to Computer Based Exams Transformed Testing at URI

A case study of transitioning from paper tests to computer based testing and transforming testing at the University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy.
computer based exam
computer based exam
Spread the Word
Listed Under

• Computer Testing Software


Dallas - Texas - US


Dec. 19, 2012 - PRLog -- Background
The University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy (URI) in Kingston, Rhode Island, offers a Doctor of Pharmacy or Pharm.D. program, as well as bachelor, master, and doctoral level degrees in the pharmaceutical sciences. It has more than 700 enrolled students, including 572 students in the Pharm.D. program, alone. In 2011, Pharm.D. graduates had a 100% pass rate for first-time takers of the NAPLEX and MPJE exams. The school has a demonstrated commitment to advancing student education, research, and effective administration

The Problem

URI had historically used paper exams, with Scantron answer forms, as the primary method of assessing its undergraduate students. However, this long-time method posed a number of significant challenges, which prompted two faculty members, Dr. Jayne Pawasauskas and Dr. Kelly Matson, to lead an effort to investigate and implement computer-based testing.

According to their analysis, the paper-based system not only created inconvenience and consumed precious time, but it also presented substantial financial costs. Faculty had to “lug papers across campus” to have them scored on a central campus Scantron machine, wait for an available time-slot to scan the answer forms, manually fill out answer keys, fix answer key mistakes, and redo the entire process if an issue arose (e.g. if post-exam analysis demonstrated there was a problem with a question or the accepted responses, or if a student’s form was not completed correctly). Moreover, to preserve proper documentation, the school required faculty to store all exam results for at least two semesters after each exam session. According to Dr. Pawasauskas, “clinical faculty don’t all have clean, dedicated workspace, so storing so much paper becomes really difficult – and costly.” Dr. Pawasauskas and Dr. Matson estimated that the costs associated with paper exams totaled approximately $30,000 for roughly 300 students.

The professors were also very concerned about security issues associated with paper testing. Dr. Pawasauskas said, “students look at each other’s papers, but the problem is you can’t really prove they did anything unless a second proctor sees the same thing.” Adding proctors, of course, adds expense. “Even then, proctors are naturally concerned about the ramifications of pulling a paper away from a student … and what if they’re wrong.”

The Solution

A core group of faculty implemented a computer testing software ( and identified very substantial benefits. The system allows faculty to create and store both items and exams in an electronic format, within an item bank, and deliver exams securely on student-owned laptops. Pre-exam paper handling is eliminated, and so is the need to manually process, re-process or store answer forms after the exams. Grading is instantaneous and re-grading is done with the click of a mouse. The faculty’s logistical issues were addressed, but just as importantly, exam security was enhanced. “One of the things I love about the software,” said Dr. Pawasauskas, “is proctors don’t need to pull papers away from students at the end of an exam to prevent them from exceeding the allotted time (for finishing their exam), and they don’t need to make undocumented allegations.” The software includes an extremely extensive set of cheating prevention measures, and if a proctor suspects any improper student behavior, administrators or faculty can review post-exam auditing reports and tools to investigate their suspicions. The results helped the university implement CBT exams ( without WiFi issues associated with online test systems, eliminate unnecessary exam-related costs, and increase security with cheating prevention, detection and deterrence.

About ExamSoft

ExamSoft offers a turnkey solution for computer-based testing, exam creation, delivery, scoring and analysis an easy and reliable process. ExamSoft has served the testing needs of prominent academic, certification, and licensing institutions for more than 13 years. More information on computer based exams is available at
Source:ExamSoft Worldwide, Inc.
Email:*** Email Verified
Tags:Computer Testing Software
Industry:Education, Technology
Location:Dallas - Texas - United States
Account Email Address Verified     Account Phone Number Verified     Disclaimer     Report Abuse
Green Peas PRs
Trending News
Top Daily News
Top Weekly News

Like PRLog?
Click to Share