There has been a public outcry over the conduct, authenticity, and reliability of public examinations in Nigeria. In response to these complaints, the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) introduced a full-scale computer-based test (CBT) in the 2015 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) to eliminate examination malpractice and to facilitate examination registration and prompt release of result. This paper examines the challenges militating against CBT in Nigeria and the prospects of full adoption of CBT in all public examinations in the country. Evaluation of students could be by the traditional paper-based test or through a computer-based test. The predominant mode of testing students in Nigeria’s educational system is the paper-based test. In this mode, students answer questions presented to them using paper and pen.
Change they say is the only thing that is constant. But every change should bring about a positive development to the society. According to Fluck et al. (2009) … educators must consider which assessment technique permit students to utilize the affordances of new technology. Paper and pencil test (PPT) or paper-based test (PBT) is gradually fading away.
In Nigeria, employers now conduct aptitude test for job seekers through electronic means, the universities and other tertiary institutions now register and conduct e-examination for their students during semester examinations and admission selection test due to the numerous advantages of CBT.
The benefits of CBT to the education sector and the country in general include:
- Creation of digital records of student growth and development which can easily be passed along from grade to grade.
- Greater flexibility with respect to location and timing of examinations
- Improved reliability because machine marking is much more reliable than human marking.
- Impartial assessment – computerized marking does not ‘know’ the students and so neither favour nor witch-hunt any candidate.
- Greater storage efficiency – tens of thousands of answer scripts can be stored on a portable hard disk of a server compared to the physical space required for paper scripts.
- Enhanced question styles which incorporate interactivity and multimedia.
- Question banks and randomization of questions and response orders to reduce cheating.
- Immediate feedback can be given to the examinee.
- Improved test security due to electronic transmission and encryption.
- Saves time and manpower for the test administration.
With the total conduct of the 2015 JAMB UTME examination (Nigeria’s tertiary institutions’ entrance examination) by CBT, e-testing has come to stay in Nigeria. Again, with the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and other government agencies keying into the computer-based test for recruitment exercise, in next ten years, all public examinations would have been by CBT.
It is also heart-warming to note that federal government has the plan to build and equip CBT centers one in each of the local government areas of the federation. Finally, with the increasing ICT education in the primary and post-primary levels of education, candidates will soon be canvassing for CBT because of its effectiveness – year-round testing, flexible scheduling, personalized testing environment, prompt viewing of scores, etc. With this, paper and pencil test (PPT) will die a natural death. With standard facilities; ranging from functional computers, power generating sets, and internet connectivity among other things, the prospects of CBT in Nigeria is very high. For tertiary institutions, collaboration with a corporate organization through PPP and TETFUND is already yielding a positive result.
Article by: Busayo Tomoh