Center-based tests are one of the best choices when it comes to reliable and high-stakes examinations. No wonder that the majority of the top national level exams like IIT JEE to NEET, all operate center-based exams. The centre-based tests not only guarantee a cheating-free, fair examination process but also make the examination process simpler with automation.
With the ample advantages, center-based tests have found great popularity and acceptance among educators and institutes, and with this, multiple options of center-based test service providers are available to choose from.
Without the right knowledge, it might turn out to be challenging to choose the service for your needs. One must carefully evaluate the needs and available options, must analyze the service from a cost vs value perspective and the list goes on.
There is no one-line answer to the question- “Which center-based test software should I choose in 2024?” However, this article will give you significant insights which can help you in making the right decision.
Here is a step-by-step guide to choosing the Best Center-Based Test Software for 2024.
Choosing the Best Center-Based Test Software for 2024
Step 1- Understand your needs, and categorize those into mandatory and optional needs
There are a large number of features and facilities available when it comes to center-based test software, but it is advisable to choose the features wisely because they unnecessarily add up to the cost (in some cases) and might go unused.
Various features of Center Based Test Software include-
1. Question type support- You can choose from MCQs, Subjective Questions (Short answer and long answer questions), Multiselect Questions, Match the pair, Fill in the blank, and True or False types of questions.
Smart tip: If you are conducting tests with descriptive answers, you can try out the AI-based answer sheet evaluation tool which makes the evaluation process much faster, more accurate, and more reliable.
2. Secure browser- During computer-based tests, the examinees might attempt to get help from resourceful websites like Google and Wikipedia, which makes it important to ensure that the candidates do not access any other software, website or locally stored file during the examination.
This is achieved by a tool called a ‘secure browser’. As the name suggests, a secure browser restricts the user from accessing resources during examination. With this, a secure browser is a highly recommended feature in Center-Based Test Software.
3. Question paper randomization- In the case of tests where a large number of students are taking the test, the tests are conducted in multiple phases/shifts. In such a case, it is important to generate multiple question papers with the same difficulty level, subject and topic-wise weightage and pattern.
The Question Paper Randomization feature allows you to create a large number of question papers with the same level of difficulty, subject and topic-wise weightage. Also, as the automated system generates these question papers, the authenticity of the question papers in terms of overall difficulty level, subject and topic-wise weightage is guaranteed.
4. Candidate authentication- It is one of the major tasks during the Center Based Tests to authenticate the candidates, usually, the candidates are called half an hour to one hour early to conduct the candidate authentication. What if I tell you that you can automate the candidate authentication with Artificial Intelligence?
Yes, the advanced Center Based Test Software supports automation of candidate authentication with high accuracy, furthermore, these systems are highly reliable as the face data is matched with the ID card and saved in the system. The system constantly verifies that the same candidate is attempting the test.
5. Candidate log- It is usual to see an interruption in the test either due to user mistakes due to hardware issues, or unstable internet. Such interruptions make it crucial to sync the answers on a server in real-time to avoid any data loss.
The candidate log feature captures every action of the student in real-time and saves the data on the server which can be retrieved and the test can be resumed from the same point where it was interrupted.
6. Secure question paper storage- One of the major reasons behind opting for a Center-Based Test is to ensure the security of the question paper and ensure that the question paper does not get leaked before the exam.
The question papers are securely stored in the software and can only be accessed by authorized personnel. The access to question papers can be strictly controlled with end-to-end encryption, moreover, the activity logs of the users can also be traced which nullifies the chances of Question Paper Leakage.
7. Infrastructure for Exam security– To nullify the chances of malpractice, and access of unauthorized personnel during the examination, centers with CCTV cameras can be chosen. To avoid the chances of usage of mobile phones and Bluetooth devices during the examination, the test center should also have a facility to collect and store mobile phones and Bluetooth devices during the examination.
The usage of CCTV cameras and restricting the use of mobile phones during the examination further improve the reliability of the computer-based Test process. You can categorize the above features into two categories, essential or optional as per your niche requirement.
Pro tip: The software firms may support you with the required infrastructure like hardware and exam halls as well, you can have a word with the software provider for the same.
Step 2- Try it before you buy it
Right from perfumes to themes in mobile phones, we try the thing before we buy. The same applies to the test software, the majority of the reputed Center-Based Test Software providers allow you to try the software before deploying it for an actual test.
You can try out the tool, explore features and seek feedback from your team regarding usability, interface and system stability. In case you need any additional features, you can reach out to the software service provider and seek customized features. For example, if you would like to customize the examination page with your brand colour, you can do the same by coordinating with the service provider.
Step 3- Make sure you get your staff trained before you deploy the tool
It is said that when the tool meets skills, the miracle happens. This holds in the case of deployment of Center-Based Test Software as well. To efficiently utilize the software, your team needs the right training plan. You can speak with the service provider regarding the training, support and resources which might help.
Bonus tip: The software provider also provides functional as well as technical support, in case you are short on manpower/staff for the execution of center-based tests, the software service provider might help you with qualified and experienced personnel to conduct the center-based tests reliably and fairly.
Step 4 – Exam Center Across Multiple Cities
Center Based Assessment software is important but you must focus on its ability to conduct tests across multiple cities on a concurrent basis. If you are looking to conduct a large volume of tests for 50,000 + candidates then you need to ensure that exam is happening across multiple centers across multiple cities and states.
Conducting high stake exams at test Centers is a scalable approach where software can help you to evaluate candidate competancy and filter out suitable candidates.
Software Configuraiton,Security, and scalability are the most important aspects for selecting suitable center-based test software.