Design and Implementation of Computer-Based Multiple Choice Examination System
1.1 Background of the Study
Examination as we know is one of the best methods of evaluating knowledge and grading a student’s ability or understanding of what he/she was taught in the classroom. There have been various methods used for accessing students such as projects, pencil written examination, presentations, assignments and oral examinations.
Traditional examination refers to a formal examination administered through question papers to which students respond in the form of written answers to a limited choice of questions set in advance and answered in examination centers where invigilators (examination supervisors) prevent communication between students and prohibit the use of notes or revision aids.
There has been a growing interest in recent years in developing and using computer based examination system in educational assessment especially in Nigeria. The advantages of computers are well known and apparent. They offer students the opportunity to improve their productivity and time management when answering questions.
The standardization of test administration conditions is one of the benefits offered by Computer Assisted Multiple Choice examination.
Computer Assisted Multiple Choice Examination helps examiners to set the same test conditions for all students. It also improves all aspects of test security by storing questions and responses in encrypted databases and enables the course facilitators to create randomized questions and answers from vast question pools.
It also offers different exam formats and the immediate presentation of different types of feedback either to students or facilitators.
In National Open University of Nigeria, the predominant mode of testing students is the paper-based test. In this mode, students answer questions presented to them using paper & pen.
Paper Based Test(PBT) in National Open University of Nigeria is characterized by different forms of examination malpractices such as bringing in unauthorized materials, writing on currency notes and identity cards, spying of other candidates in the examination hall, substitution of answer sheets and change of examination scores or grades. Others include; impersonation, leakage of questions to students before the examination, connivance with supervisors and school authorities to cheat, body writing or tattoo in which students especially females write on hidden parts of their bodies.
It is in view of these challenges that I’m embarking on this study inorder to proffer solutions.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Change they say is the only thing that is constant, but every change should bring about a positive development in the society.
Paper and pencil test or examination is phasing out because of its limitations that have allowed widespread malpractices during the examinations.
The problems of paper and pencil examination in National Open University of Nigeria enumerated below;
- The process is very tedious as the examinations are conducted at various states and distant centers simultaneously and marking are done manually.
- High risks of accidents during travels by both the examination officials and the candidates for the paper examination.
- Subjective scoring and plausible manipulation of results.
- Late release of results and missing grades.
- High cost of conduct of the examination on the part of the examination bodies including honoraria for invigilators, coordinators, markers, collators and other allied staff.
- Bank draft method of payment by candidates is riddled by fraud, loss of money, stress and trauma.
Due to the challenges being faced using the pen and paper method of examining candidates, I am motivated to embark on the study with the intention of developing a Computer Assisted Multiple choice exam that will avoid delay in the release of results, decrease the rate of examination malpractices, minimize the cost of printing examination materials and minimize human errors.
1.4 Aims and Objectives
The aims and objective of the project is to design a computer assisted multiple choice examination system that will ensure that;
- Multiple choice questions are set and presented in the computer
- Multiple choice questions are set and presented in the computer
- Answers are marked by the computer in shortest possible time
- The results and grades are presented and stored.
1.5 Purpose of the Study
With the growth in the number of students aspiring for western education in National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) and a limited number of qualified educators, the use of Computer assisted multiple choice examination system provides a solution to meet the challenge.
It suffices therefore that student assessment and its associated mark recording, being integral aspects of any academic system should not be a time consuming task on educators but be automated to curb examination malpractices and minimize human errors.
The purpose of the design includes;
- To design a system showing the functional relationship between the student and the facilitator (Administrator) in a Computer Assisted Multiple Choice Examination System (CAMCES)
- To develop a Computer Based Test System that manages students’ final examination, while taking into cognizance other aspects of assessments such as test, examinations & assignments.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The benefits of Computer Assisted Multiple Choice Examination system are;
- Precision evaluation through adaptive testing, where the next question to be posed is determined by prior response.
- Creation of digital records of student growth and development which can easily be passed along from grade to grade.
- Greater flexibility with respect to location and timing of examinations.
- Improved reliability because machine marking is much more reliable than human being.
- Impartial assessment-computerized marking does not “know” the students and so neither favour nor witch hunt any candidate.
- Greater storage efficiency: tens of thousands of answer scripts can be stored on a portable hard disk of a servercompared to the physical space required for paper scripts.
- Enhanced question styles which incorporate interactivity and multimedia.
- Question banks and randomization of questions and response orders to reduce cheating
- Immediate feedback can be given to the examinee.
- Improved test security due to electronic transmission and encryption.
- Saves time and manpower for the test administration
- Environment conservation as plants used for paper and pencil making will be preserved.
- Lower long term costs.
1.7 Definition of Terms
(i) Computer Based Examination System (CBES): it is a multiple choice question based examination system that provides an easy to use environment for both test conductors and students appearing for examination.
(ii) Browser: It is an application program used to view web pages.
(iii) System: It can be defined as a collection of parts or components which form a whole, the parts are interrelated with each other and work together to achieve a common goal.
(iv) System Boundary: This separates as a system from its environment or determines the extent of the separation. It therefore shows the scope of activities supported by the system.
- System & Sub-System: A system containsa smaller system known as sub-systems which has elements, interaction and objectives and perform tasks related to the overall objectives of the system as a whole.
- Interface: It is a share boundary across which two or more separate components of computer system exchange information.
- System Feedback: This is control information used to determine activities of the inputs of the system. It normally comes as output information.
- Flowchart: This is the diagrammatic representation of the program components using standard symbols.