How Technology Eases the Process of Nursing Exams

July 13, 2016 Kristen Hicks

The faculty at nursing schools have too much to balance—if only your job was really all about teaching. Instead, all the other little tasks that need to get done add up to overwhelm your to-do list, making the actual teaching part of your job that much harder.  

At least one of your responsibilities can be simplified considerably with the help of technology. Nursing exams can be tedious and time consuming. You have to write the questions, find good distractors, watch over students closely as you administer them to be on guard for cheating, and then—best of all—spend time in your “off” hours grading stacks of papers.  

You know the exams are important, but it’s hard to feel like every step in the process is a valuable use of your time.

Frankly, that’s because it’s not. You don’t actually have to spend that much time on nursing exams. Exam software can simplify the whole process.

You still have to go through some of the steps—technology can’t write high-quality questions; a knowledgeable brain is still required for that part—but you can cut down on the time you spend on many of the steps.

How ExamSoft Simplifies Nursing Exams

Here are five ways that using software to create and administer your exams can make your life easier:

  1. Question banking saves you time on future exams.

How much time do you spend writing questions? ExamSoft provides a question bank in which  you can save every question you use so you can easily pull it up when you’re writing a test for next year’s class.  

You can also track how well different questions and distractors perform, so you have an easy time figuring out how best to tweak each question to make it stronger between exams. Obviously, a question bank doesn’t remove all the work of exam creation, but over time, as your question bank grows, the exams you write each semester will be that much faster and easier to put together.  

  1. The exam creation process is faster and easier to organize with software.  

The combination of pen and paper has been an outstanding technology that has made so much possible over the years, and sure, it’s worked just fine for exam creation. Software that’s designed specifically for exams, though—every feature and all aspects of the design put toward this one purpose—can only make things easier than using pen and paper.

ExamSoft lets you work on your exams from whatever device you choose. You can start on your work desktop, keep working on your iPhone on the way home, and then finish things up on your personal laptop while sitting on your living room couch. The software is designed to make putting each element into place intuitive and help you cover all the topics and competencies you intend to.  

All that means less time spent working on writing your exams while still getting results that, if anything, will hew closer to what you’re aiming for.

  1. Tagging your questions to outcomes simplifies tracking results.

You can do just a smidge of extra work during exam creation to tag all your questions with the outcomes you want them to help measure, and your assessment analysis will be worlds easier. ExamSoft automatically produces reports that show all the assessment data you could possibly need to help your students.

You’ll be able to see individualized results that show which students are struggling in which areas, as well as high-level results that show you what the class as a whole needs. Maybe you need to go ahead and schedule an extra unit on drug classifications, or maybe you just need to provide an extra assignment to the two or three students struggling to get it down. The data will make it easy to figure out.   

  1. Exam administration is less onerous and can happen anywhere.

Paper exams have to be carted from the printing office to class. If they’re multiple pages, they have to be properly collated. Then, at the end of the class, they have to be collected and carted to wherever you’ll be grading.  

Computer-based exams that work only on a desktop require renting out a computer room and making sure all your students get there on time.  

Computer-based exams that can be taken on tablets and smartphones, as well as student computers, can be administered anywhere. ExamSoft blocks every other application on students’ devices so they can access only the exam while they’re taking it. You can trust in the exam security, and your students can use the laptop or tablet they’re most comfortable with.

  1. Grading is fast, easy to do anywhere, and standardized.

Finally, we reach what is arguably the most tedious task of all: grading exams. ExamSoft completely automates the process for any multiple-choice questions, but more importantly, it also makes the process of grading essay questions and other subjective assessments easier.

ExamSoft’s rubrics make it possible to clarify and map out the criteria you want to use for grading in advance and have that information in front of you as you go. You can make notes within the software as you work to provide any specific feedback needed, and you can do your grading from anywhere—on your bus commute, while you’re in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, at home in your pajamas—all without having to keep up with stacks of paper.

Preparing your students for the NCLEX is one of the biggest responsibilities you have. The exams you create play a huge role in getting them there. You can’t skimp on making quality exams, but you can approach exam creation and grading in a way that’s more efficient, more effective, and simply easier.

 

 

 

 
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