The Pros And Cons of Online Examinations for Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic
If you’re a student in this pandemic, you’ve probably heard of or have even participated in online classes. Online classes are a great way for connecting teachers and students in these trying times because social distancing is mandatory and crowds, which face-to-face classes tend to make, are not allowed due to regulated protocols for the sake of everyone’s health and safety.
Now, everybody has to keep in mind that not all schools perform online classes or at least not regularly. Like offline classes, online classes do have their fair share of difficulties, and one of those is present in online examinations, which is the focus of this piece you’re reading right now. Exams, as all know, are probably the bane of a lot of students, and real talk, doing them online is actually not making it any easier.
The days before the examinations are usually hectic. Some cram and study until midnight, while others rush to do their incomplete tasks that may or may not be overdue. When the actual days of reckoning begin, the students sit on their chairs that are spread apart from each other to prevent some itchy eyes from turning to papers that are not theirs. The teacher watches attentively while the pupils are accomplishing the tests. After the examinations, students wait for the results; the rest is post-exam relaxation or continuing deadlines for other school work.
What you have read above was how these examinations usually happen in the ‘normal’ classes that everyone knows. In the new normal of this pandemic on the other hand, things are a whole lot different. Here, you will learn about how it is and how students are experiencing them. Below are the pros and cons of online examinations for students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
1 – Students have well-defined learning guides to study from.
Due to the nature of online classes and it being hard to get everything in the curriculum to be gotten from the physical book, teachers resort to learning guides. These are summarized and compact documents of information, usually in Word or PDF format, that students can easily access to know directly what they need to study instead of trying to study everything in a broad description of pages of what the teacher said. These are used in online tutoring and lectures, too, pre-pandemic times.
2 – Students are less pressured in answering exams compared to face-to-face.
Instead of being gazed upon by the teacher while answering the test, students sit in front of the computer with the camera turned on as they answer the test on the designated website. There can also be a timer, usually set to one hour, to know when the test ends. Compared to face-to-face classes, students are given more lee-way in what they do. Of course, the pressure is less than actual school exams because the students are staying at home, their comfort zone, and the teacher is not physically but virtually around.
3 – Students won’t have to worry about their handwriting.
With only the use of keyboards to type answers to questions and with the point-clicking of the computer’s mouse for multiple choice answers, the students do not have to worry about their hard-to-read penmanship. And of course, the teachers are relieved too. For real, handwriting is an issue for some teachers when their students write recklessly or when they just naturally do not have a good penmanship.
In online exams, not only questions are computerized but also answers. This lessens the mentioned worry for a lot of students and teachers. Besides possible grammar problems, typing is technically much faster than writing if you’re used to it, so you can finish the problems faster while keeping the same quality of your writing’s content as you would have when you are writing by hand. It is much more efficient that way.
1 – Unfortunately, some students are more tempted to cheat.
Did you see it coming? The Internet is a thing. Search engines are a thing. And almost everything you’re looking for can be found using these!
There are many ways schools prepare their questions in exams during online classes, but probably most common would be through a survey-like interface like in Google forms or a specific question and answer website like Genyo. That’s all fine and dandy, but the thing is, most students probably answer this in a browser. Multiple tabs are in browsers, and you know where this is going. These can offer various passages for cheating to happen.
Now, unless the students are forced to record everything they’ve done in their screen through a screen recorder and send it to them after taking the exam – which would most likely not happen due to privacy laws and that being too much of a hassle – there is practically little to no way the teachers would definitively know what students actually do in their screens. Online proctors would have to rely on the questionable integrity of their students, as they are practically able to roam free, unless a responsible guardian is watching them that is.
This degree of freedom can definitely be tempting to some (not all!) students which is a struggle (or maybe a blessing depending on their perspectives) for them. Nonetheless, of course, students, remember that cheating is never right and is never acceptable!
2 – Students are bothered by device and Internet lagging.
If you’re in developed countries, the majority of people’s Internet connection there may be fine, and you wouldn’t experience much problems with it, but if you live in developing countries with slow Internet, you know that you are bound to have tons of headaches.
There are times when the students taking the exams experience lag. They keep pressing the next button for the next question in the exam, and this may take worryingly long. There are also times where the Internet suddenly goes out for no reason and then all the answers you accomplished are all gone, and you need to redo it again. This is such a huge annoyance and a waste of time and effort!
What’s more, students may also get disconnected during their online meetings, adding to the stress factor of answering online exams. It happens even in quizzes too, and it is really no doubt frustrating.
Ask students who are experiencing or who experienced online classes with examinations. You will hear different sorts of answers, and what’s sure is that you will hear the benefits and the challenges that these present. Truly, in many ways, students are thankful to technology and the Internet because classes are still possible away from school itself. On another note, they cannot deny the times when they feel like they just want to have face-to-face examinations already.
While the world is in the process of healing from this pandemic, let’s continually hope that every student in online classes learns well, answers exams well and enjoys well! Reap the benefits, and overcome the setbacks!