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63% of educational institutions taking the hybrid route for exams: Report

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Over 63% of educational institutions say they would conduct exams the hybrid way, with a mix of offline and online, The State of Online Examinations 2021 Report by Mercer | Mettl | Mettl has revealed.

The second-in-the-series annual report indicates a massive shift towards the online ecosystem after the pandemic set in, with 56% of those surveyed employing online examination platforms after March 2020. The finding is in sharp contrast to the massive preference for traditional, centre-based exams among educational institutions in the pre-pandemic era, as 56% of those surveyed report having never conducted online examinations before the pandemic.

The report outlines the impact of COVID-19 on examinations and the education sector’s pivot towards the digital ecosystem in the past 15 months. Nearly 76% of all respondents report that online exam service providers addressed either all or most of their exam-related requirements while 64% of respondents believe that online exams cost less or as much as their traditional counterpart.

Over 650 respondents, including deans, HODs, professors and other influential decision-makers, from over 150 educational institutions from across 18 countries, participated in the survey.

The numbers indicate a broad-based and swift acceptance of digital assessment tools, highlighting the education sector’s readiness to adopt and leverage technology to offer exams. The shift from most respondents reporting no exposure to digital evaluation platforms in the pre-pandemic era to them reporting high satisfaction levels now validates the quality of platforms and proctoring technologies available on the market.

Almost 6 out of 10 respondents (57%) cite cheating as their primary concern in offering online examinations, suggesting that providing tests with integrity and in a sanitised environment takes precedence for academia over all else.

Universities and colleges have also posed a substantial wish list of features and services. For example, almost 7 out of 10 respondents expect better mechanisms from online exam service providers to clamp down on cheating to ensure cheating-free virtual examinations, followed by 62% who expect enhanced ability to stage multiple types of exams (MCQs, descriptive, diagram type, etc.). The numbers indicate that universities and colleges are keen on using online platforms and will offer directional cues to service providers to improve their offerings. There seems a symphony in play.

Siddhartha Gupta, CEO, Mercer | Mettl, said in a statement: “Education and examination practices have undergone tectonic shifts in the past 15 months of the pandemic. The State of Online Examinations 2021 report details how even being a late entrant, the education sector has exhibited tremendous resilience and willingness to move to the online ecosystem and adopt futuristic methods of education and examination. The onus is on leaders, equally in the education and Edutech sectors, to ensure that they sustain these hard-fought gains made during the pandemic. They must ensure mainstreaming tech adoption and insulate the education ecosystem from current and unforeseen disruptions.”

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