Transitioning To Online Testing: Trials, Tribulations & Triumphs

Monday, 18 November 2013: 10:00 AM

Greta I. Marek, DNP, RN, CNE1
Scott B Coffey, MSN, FNP-BC2
Adrienne D. Wilk, BSN, RN1
(1)Division of Nursing, Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN
(2)College of Health Sciences, Division of Nursing, Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to describe 3 advantages of online verses traditional paper testing formats.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to discuss 2 methods for transitioning to online testing.

Faculty introduced computer-based testing in a first-year Associate Degree Nursing program in an effort to transition away from traditional testing formats.  The impetus was to challenge students’ critical thinking skills and clinical application, test at application and higher, incorporate alternative test items, and save money and supplies. The aim of this project was to use innovative testing strategies, increase the utilization of resources, educate faculty regarding online testing formats, meet student expectations for immediate test feedback, and address digital cheating through enhanced online test security and testing policies. Faculty first introduced computer-based testing spring 2012 for quizzes only in an effort to familiarize both faculty and students with online formatting. Fall 2012 and spring 2013 included both exams and quizzes given via computers in the Respondus Lockdown Browser. Timed quizzes are taken outside of class, while tests are proctored by faculty. Computer-based testing can allow faculty time to be streamlined (Caudle, Bigness, Daniels, Gilmore-Kahn, & Knestrick, 2011), while faculty attitudes regarding computer-based testing can create potential challenges (Carr, 2011). Increased student anxiety (Firth, Sewell, & Clark, 2008) regarding a change in testing format must be addressed prior to initiating, and administrative support and faculty buy-in are essential. Alternative test items were found to be a challenge for many students, but with guidance from faculty, well worth the transition. Planning for ways to prevent digital cheating (Boykins, & Gilmore, 2012; Harmon, Lambrinos, & Kennedy, 2008), ensure IT support during tests (Smith, Passmore, & Faught, 2009), emphasizing the importance of ethical professional conduct, as well as establishing penalties for cheating are essential. Computer-based testing is becoming an integral aspect of higher education; providing exposure so that students can become more adept at online testing is a positive motivator for pedagogical change (Vilchez, & Thirunarayanan, 2011).