Computerized Summative Assessment of Multiple-choice Questions: Exploring Possibilities with the Zimbabwe School Examination Council Grade 7 Assessments

Benjamin Tatira, Lillias Hamufari Natsai Mutambara, Conilius J. Chagwiza, Lovemore J. Nyaumwe


The purpose of this study was to develop educational software for online assessment of multiple choice responses (MCQs). An automated assessment software program, duly developed in this study can display assessment items, record candidates' answers, and mark and provide instant reporting of candidates' performance scores.  Field tests of the software were conducted on four primary schools located in Bindura town using a previous year summative Grade 7 assessment set by the Zimbabwe School Examination Council (ZIMSEC). Results were that computerized assessment in mathematics has the potential to enhance the quality of assessment standards and can drastically reduce material costs to the examination board. The paper exposes test mode benefits inherent in computer-based assessments, such as one-item display and ease of candidates selecting/changing optional answers. It also informs the ongoing debate on possible enhancement of candidates' performance on a computer-based assessment relative to the traditional pen-and-paper assessment format. The need for the development of diagnostic instructional software to compliment computerized assessments is one of the recommendations of the study.

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