How Computer-Based Testing Saves Teachers Time

May 11, 2016 Kristen Hicks

 

Teachers are overworked. Class sizes keep growing, which means more students to keep up with, more tests to grade, more of everything.

The average teacher works 53 hours a week, and even so probably hears from well-meaning acquaintances about how nice it must be to get off at 3 p.m.—ha! Seventy percent of teachers say their job is often stressful, and 80% say they’re exhausted at the end of the workday.

Anyone who’s been paying attention knows our K-12 schools have a problem. Good teachers are facing burnout, and if they’re not able to provide the level of education and attention to kids that they’d prefer, everyone suffers.

 

The Difference Computer-Based Testing Makes

Computer-based testing doesn’t add more hours to the day and can’t reduce class sizes, but it can offer a partial solution—one that’s actually within reach for many schools. There are a few ways it can lighten the load for overworked, exhausted teachers.

  1. Easier exam administration.

The process of giving exams takes time. You have to print out copies, distribute them, and keep an eye on your students while they’re taking the exam. You’ll probably need to continue doing that last part, but computer-based testing can eliminate the other two steps.

The University of Texas Health System’s School of Dentistry found that teachers spent 34% less time administering exams once they started using ExamSoft. Reducing the steps to give an exam means giving time back to your teachers.

  1. Faster grading.

Every teacher has faced a stack of papers that needs grading. It may be one of the most dreaded sights for anyone in the profession. You know it’s important, but boy, is it tedious.

With computer-based testing, you can eliminate the stack completely. That doesn’t mean the work goes away entirely. For any multiple-choice sections, the grading can be completely automated, but for essay questions, your expertise is still required.

Nonetheless, your grading can be faster, easier, and portable. You can get some grading done while waiting for an appointment, during halftime at your kid’s soccer game—anywhere you can take a tablet or laptop.

  1. Question banks for easier exam creation.

At Bergen Catholic High School, Brother Christopher Hall had no trouble explaining  what teachers considered the biggest benefit of implementing ExamSoft: “Time. They really save a lot of time on the process of creating exams.”

A shared question bank makes it easier for teachers to reuse questions they’ve already written, slightly tweak them over time to make them better, and even lean on the work of other teachers to make their own efforts easier. All that adds up to improved exams that take less time to create.

  1. Real-time data on student performance.

Keeping up with how individual students are doing in a large class is a constant challenge. ExamSoft produces data that can clearly show you, in an easy-to-understand assessment report, not only which students are struggling, but also which specific subjects they’re having a hard time with. When you better understand their particular needs, you can ensure you’re spending the time you have with them in the most useful way possible.

The most valuable work that teachers do doesn’t happen during exam creation or administration; it happens in the time they spend with students. When you can cut down on the time committed to other tasks, you give teachers back more of the minutes and energy needed for working with their students. That’s their most important job, after all.

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