What are the benefits of digital assessment for professional associations?
New and emerging technologies have changed the face of many professions over the years. From the introduction of computers and calculators in the 20th century, to the developments we are seeing now such as AI, big data, cloud computing as well as mobile and social collaboration, professional working practices are continually being reshaped. As ‘digital by default’ (1) becomes the norm in many sectors, professional associations are working to make sure their qualifications suitably prepare their students for the reality of the profession they will be entering.
One way that professional qualification providers can ensure their offering evolves with technology is by embedding digital throughout their assessment process. Embracing digital assessment can provide a whole host of benefits – we’ve picked our top five.
1. Boost candidate employability
Assessment technology can give professional associations the capability to create and deliver assessments that simulate professional practice. The ability to incorporate interactive item types such as video questions, rich media, file uploads, functioning spreadsheets and more means that you can assess candidates on the skills that will really matter to their potential future employers.
For example, candidates studying for professional medical qualifications can be assessed on skills in a risk-free environment that they may previously have only been assessed on in real-life practice. Such candidates would be more employable because, not only do they have the necessary qualification, but they will also have had the opportunity to learn from both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ clinical decisions – something that would traditionally only happen ‘on the job’. (2)
In the case of professional accountancy assessments, candidates can benefit from sitting exams that mirror the day-to-day tasks of a qualified accountant through components such as live spreadsheets.
2. Gain competitive advantage
The increased flexibility afforded by digital assessment can help you to take a more versatile approach to delivering assessments. This could provide ample opportunities for scaling up, reaching new markets, and gaining advantage over your competitors. Assessment technology enables your organisation to:
Deliver exams anywhere in the world, at any time.
Allow examiners and practitioners to mark assessments anywhere, at any time.
Create and update assessments and items quickly through item banking.
Make changes to assessments much closer to exam time.
Deliver authentic assessments that reflect real-world experience.
3. Improve the candidate experience
Digital assessment unlocks several new possibilities for professional bodies to make a tangible difference to the candidate experience and attract and retain more candidates as a result.
On-screen assessments can provide a much more engaging experience compared with pen and paper tests using interactive question types and authentic assessments that reflect the ‘new normal’.
Students can also be given more freedom to personalise their assessment environment. For example, they can pick the format of questions or topics, change font sizes, change colours and more. Making the tests more accessible in this way allows candidates to take control of their assessments and showcase their true potential.
The flexibility to choose when and where they sit their assessments can also provide candidates with a more positive experience because it removes barriers such as the cost of travelling to a test centre.
4. Reduce the assessment lifecycle
By transitioning to digital assessment, professional bodies can speed up many of the associated processes to ultimately decrease the time between candidates completing the assessment to the results being issued.
The efficiencies that can reduce the exam lifecycle include:
The removal of the need for test centres and other venues because candidates can sit assessments on their own device at home.
Feedback can be provided in real-time online.
Exam marking can take place anywhere, on any device, at any time which can help to increase capacity.
5. Empower practitioners
On-screen assessment methods can provide access to real-time data that can be analysed to provide insights and drive continuous improvement. For providers of professional qualifications, this rich data can empower practitioners to work smarter, not harder by enabling them to provide much quicker, more personal and meaningful feedback to candidates which also reduces their workload and allows them to use their time more productively.
Our online assessment technology helps professional qualification providers around the world meet the developing needs of their candidates. Find out how we work with professional associations to help them transition to digital assessment.