You can easily provide testing over the Internet to be delivered before the course (pretests), after the course (posttests), or after defined portions of the course.
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The traditional educational experience uses testing for a number of things:
- To let the student know what he already knows before taking a class
- To let the student know what he learned after taking the class
- To the student’s managers know whether the student learned the material
Tests can be delivered over the Internet. The student can go to a Web page, fill in the test answers, and get the results of the test immediately. Results of the test can be shown to the student, stored for later reporting to management, or both. (A problem that has to be addressed for testing over the Internet is validation of identity—you want to be sure that you’re really testing the right per- son—and not a ringer.)
Tests come in two basic varieties, called pretests and posttests, either of which can be done over the Internet:
Pretests (Before the Class)
- Can be used to let students “test out” of a class. If you can show you know the material, you can get credit as if you had taken the class.
- Can be used to set the baseline of knowledge from which the student begins.
Posttests (After the Class, or After a Part of the Class)
- Can be used to show the student how much has been learned. As a self-check, the student can be told, for example, “If you didn’t get 8 out of 10 answers right, you should go back through the material again.”
- Can be used as a gate to further progress. If the student doesn’t get 8 of 10 right for part one of the class, the student can’t proceed to part two.
- Can be used to report to management which students passed the tests.
When the results of the test taken after the class are compared to the results of the test taken before the class, the student should get a sense for how much she learned.
It’s important here to point out that testing delivered over the Internet has the same basic advantages and disadvantages as any kind of testing.
- Some students hate to be tested, regardless of whether it’s over the Internet or in a classroom. Other students enjoy proving what they know with testing. So testing can be a turn-off or a turn-on, depending on the student.
- Some people just don’t do well on tests.
- Tests give an indication of whether the material has been learned, but, in most cases, it is only an indication and not a precise measurement. Reporting of test results to management can be useful or problematic. There is sometimes a lot of fear in the students’ minds when they are not clear about how management will be using the test results.
- Pretest: Students can “test out” of courses.
- Posttest: Students can check themselves, and management can evaluate results.
- Usage of posttests by management.
- Student fear of how a test is being used.
- Some people just don’t test well.