The EUNIS 2019 Congress: Campus for the Future. How Can Digital Assessment Reform Examinations?

On June 5th - 7th the EUNIS 2019 Congress took place at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim. Under the headline “Campus for the future” more than 430 attendees from all over Europe met and discussed how to develop a modern, secure and involving IT landscape at the institutions. In this blog post we will share some of the valuable lessons learned.

As NTNU is a frontrunner on digital assessment there was hardly a better place to discuss the many aspects of digital examination - from security to marking and student experience. Since NTNU implemented Inspera Assessment in 2016, the university has experienced a steady growth of online assessment from 300 tests in 2016 (with 10 000 students participating) to 3 300 tests in 2018 (85 000 students).

EUNIS2019_Sofie&Truls   

A look into analogous vs. digital assessment

There is no doubt that digital and paper-based examinations differ substantially. The rise of new technologies has various impacts on both preparation, implementation and grading of the exams. As a result of the digitalisation, students’ handwriting deteriorates, and the question is posed, whether institutions should fight the digital evolution, or offer an assessment experience which mirrors the students’ everyday life and prepares them for a work life, that would be inevitably digital. 

A group of researchers from RWTH Aachen University presented their key findings on analogous vs. digital  conduction of exams. They pointed out the fact that security threats exist in similar forms for both digital and analogous examination: the risk that students can access unauthorized information, or communicate with other students during the examination. 

Even though digital examinations offer in general more possibilities of cheating, these possibilities require a lot of effort to exploit (in comparison with traditional ways of cheating). At the same time, digital examination platforms offer more opportunities to detect cheating, which make the research team from Archen conclude: “... we can make use of the unquestioned advantages of digital exams without drawbacks in security and thus reliability that are often mentioned as counterarguments”. 

A visit to the ‘Exam Factory’

During the congress, participants had the opportunity to visit the largest examination facility in Norway. The Exam House or “Eksamenshuset” enables 2 800 students to take their examination per day using Inspera Assessment. Pointing forward, NTNU pursues more than a 75% digitisation rate of courses that are fit for e-assessment.

EUNIS2019_Exam Factory

The transition from paper-based examinations to on-screen delivery and marking has numerous benefits that reform the examinations, and have a significant impact on both students, academics and the administrative staff.

Seeing the Exam House ‘in action’ makes the benefits very concrete, as thousands of students are able to prove their skills in a valid, reliable and accessible way.     

The digital transformation gives rise to numerous questions. How do we offer students the skills that will prepare them for the future? How do we prepare them for jobs not yet conceived? At Inspera we are excited to be a member of the EUNIS community where institutions and IT suppliers can share experiences and discuss the IT landscape of tomorrow. We believe that digital assessment is part of the answer. We are already looking forward to the EUNIS 2020!

Do you want to learn more?  

All presentations from EUNIS 2019 are now available at the website. If you want to learn more about how our customers are transitioning to online assessment, you can read our Customer Case Studies.

Topics: digital assessment, e-assessment, NTNU, exam factory, secure exams

Anja Sisarica

Written by Anja Sisarica

User Researcher & Product Strategist - Inspera Assessment