Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington – was founded in 1897. It is New Zealand’s top-ranked university for research intensity and consistently ranks among the world’s best universities in the QS World Rankings. Victoria University of Wellington has over 22,000 students, including over 3,600 international students from 116 countries.
Students, today, are well acquainted with and expect to use digital tools to type essays, conduct research, and complete coursework as part of their everyday studies. Over time, students will view digital assessment in the same way. The student experience, and use of digital tools in the classroom, should naturally prepare students and help them to progress into their professional life.
The Victoria University of Wellington did an extensive global search for a digital examination software solution. Following an internal audit, risk, and security process, they identified Inspera Assessment as offering a tool that was comprehensive, rich in functionality, visually intuitive, and would deliver a quality solution for the University.
Digital assessments provide a number of opportunities. The University found in their first pilot that there were significant time savings for academic and administrative staff. The University found that typing rather than handwriting removed the ever-present challenge of illegible handwriting, and therefore made the marking and feedback process quicker and easier.
Victoria University of Wellington recognised that the implementation of a digital assessment platform requires a business-critical change management programme, requiring buy-in from various stakeholders across the University. Academics, students, and professional staff members, as well as crucial IT and business staff members, have all played a role in making the pilot a success.
The project team has engaged with students throughout the pilot to ensure that they are familiar with the digital exam process and software. All students are asked to complete a technical survey to ensure their laptops are ‘fit-for-purpose’. They can also attend laptop clinics during the trimester for IT help and can complete a mock exam and demos to trial the software.
The project team worked closely with Disability Services. Inspera Assessment helped to facilitate this with their in-built functionality that includes a wide range of dedicated accessibility features, such as zooming, text-to-speech, font-sizing, as well as facilitating the use of external adaptive technology, such as screen readers.
The two pilots in 2019 included 1,162 students in 18 courses within the Faculty of Law and the Wellington School of Business and Government, and included students in their second year of study to those doing their Master of Business Administration (MBA).
The adoption rate for digital exams with students has been high – with 90% of students across both pilots – choosing to do their exam/s digitally. The exams were successfully delivered with no loss of internet or IT infrastructure issues. The University had a 100% submission rate for students undertaking their exam digitally.
Digital exams received high satisfaction ratings, with 86% of students rating their overall digital exam experience and their experience on the day as good, very good, or excellent. 80% of students also agreed or strongly agreed that they would recommend digital exams to other students.
For the Victoria University of Wellington, it’s important to meet the growing expectations for digital assessment and to be at the forefront of the change to digital exams in tertiary education. The University focuses on implementing and continually improving a change programme to provide students and staff with sufficient support to move from paper to digital examinations.
Implementation of digital assessment recognises the positive environmental impact and forms part of many universities’ sustainability strategies. The move by Victoria University of Wellington to digital assessments also supports their sustainability goals.
You can learn more about the pilot project on the Victoria University of Wellington’s website. You can also download the University’s digital exam guide for students, which covers all technical requirements and support, provides tips on functionality, and other relevant exam day information.
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