Carla Hernandez is an ExamSoft client, and graciously agreed to share her experiences with implementing and using our testing and analytics platform with our blog audience.
“This seems like a lot of work.”
“What do I have to do?”
“I’m not comfortable with computer-based testing.”
These are all valid concerns raised by new ExamSoft users and the types of concerns that need to be considered when rolling out a new initiative. As ExamSoft was recently introduced to our institution’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, the Office of Assessment has been named its Key Administrators. In general, the nature of our office is to collect and analyze information in order to gain further insight for an objective, and that did not change when ExamSoft was recently introduced. We compiled information during the pilot phase, which ultimately led to the creation of an instructional manual tailored to the needs of our specific programs.
Information was collected from various sources during our first semester’s use of ExamSoft. Any issues experienced during an exam’s administration were tracked, ranging from software/machine problems to any student and faculty concerns. Collaborating with faculty during the pilot period allowed us to gauge their initial reactions to the software and narrow down which processes made their lives easier. Observing new users as they were introduced to ExamSoft during two faculty training sessions and taking note of their concerns alerted us of elements potentially missing from the continually growing manual. Observation of student behavior at exams and responses to student surveys yielded other useful information. All this information accumulated into a wealth of knowledge we now held, and the next logical step was to share it with our fellow users.
The manual was intended to be the first resource for new users to utilize. It promotes a “help yourself” approach while still having other lines of support in place. The Key Administrators were available to any new or current users, and the resources already offered by ExamSoft were still actively promoted. We aimed to provide a comprehensive manual as faculty implemented ExamSoft in their courses.The manual provides a complete look at delivering assessments via ExamSoft. Based on our learning experiences and information gathered during the pilot period, we noticed some users were seeking a broader understanding of ExamSoft. Some users sought to understand it as a whole, not only the step-by-step instructions for each function as a separate part. In designing the manual, we opted to provide those details so users could better visualize how ExamSoft’s many functions are connected, as well as gain insight into an exam taker’s experience. We were able to customize our manual with this emphasis through the addition of detailed screenshots, hyperlinks, flowcharts, a glossary, and other components.
As specific plans for ExamSoft’s use in upcoming semesters are finalized, roles and responsibilities within each course can be introduced, and the knowledge acquired from the initial pilot period can be applied to finish our first year’s use of ExamSoft. The manual will be distributed to faculty users, whose courses are ultimately authorized to use the software. We will continue to monitor all issues experienced by students and users so as to continue strengthening our proficiency in ExamSoft, providing constant improvements to our faculty via the manual and evolving our practices to best track learning outcomes and student success.
About the Author
Carla Hernandez is a Data Administrator with the Office of Assessment and a Key Examsoft Administrator in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at St. John’s University in Queens, New York. Carla facilitates data management and exam administration analysis for the Health Sciences programs in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy Practice. Her research interests include higher education assessment, improvements in student learning, and quantitative statistical analysis of student learning.More Content by Carla Hernandez