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Using The Internet To Facilitate Examination Of Student Proficiency

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.586.1 - 4.586.7

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Paper Authors

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J. A. Murden

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K. P. Brannan

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1358

Using the Internet to Facilitate Examination of Student Proficiency

J. A. Murden, K. P. Brannan The Citadel


In the fall of 1997 the authors began to use the Internet both to deliver some examinations to students and for students to return solutions to the examinations back to the professors. After an initial period of apprehension on the part of some students, the students in the classes responded favorably to web-based tests. Students overwhelmingly stated that the web-based tests were no more difficult and did not affect the grades compared to the number of other types of tests used in the course. Initially, it took almost three hours to plan and create a web-based test. With experience, the required time was quickly reduced to the same one-hour period that had been required for the traditional tests. The time saved grading the web-based tests and assessing student performance was substantial and resulted in a net decrease of faculty time for the case presented in this paper. The web-authoring software, Microsoft FrontPage, used to create these tests was moderately priced and compatible with the software routinely used by the authors. The software and the computing infrastructure that supported this effort are described.


What engineering professor hasn’t puzzled far too long over a partially legible, weakly organized test in an effort to fairly evaluate student proficiency, while concerned about timely feedback? Frequently faced with a stack of such papers to grade, it would be natural for a professor to consider whether more efficient means are available for assessing tests. A logical alternative to traditional testing that has the potential for promoting efficiency is digitally delivered tests. Computer-based testing offers a professor a number of advantages over traditional tests, including rapid grading and feedback, the potential for adding multimedia elements to tests, and an effective means to assess student work and courses. Further, the Internet offers a reliable way to deliver and receive tests on campus, to homes of non-resident students, or to any location at any time in a distance learning environment.

Computer-based testing has been explored for a number of years, but until recently, the resources were not generally available for an individual professor to develop creative computer-based tests on a regular basis. As a graduate student in 1985, the lead author wrote a suite of programs that allowed elementary school teachers to create and administer spelling or vocabulary tests by using the audio capabilities of the (then revolutionary) Amiga computer. Quizzer1 (a network-based, non-internet tool) and InternetQuiz2 are two special purpose software programs that have been developed in recent years to facilitate the administration of computer-based tests. Internet-based tests can also be conveniently developed and managed using web-authoring software such as FrontPage.

Murden, J. A., & Brannan, K. P. (1999, June), Using The Internet To Facilitate Examination Of Student Proficiency Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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