ISSUES THAT SIMULATIONS FACE AS ASSESSMENT TOOLS in .NET framework

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security As noted above, computerisation generally has advantages where control of the assessment event is concerned, in particular allowing greater standardisation of assessment delivery However, there are other aspects of control where computerisation results in unique problems
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Candidate Identi cation Making sure that the correct person is undertaking an assessment is, of course, a serious issue in all high stakes assessment However, the exibility which computer-based assessment offers in terms of distributed assessment locations, testing on demand and adaptive testing, while being one of its greatest advantages, also creates some special problems requiring new solutions The need to con rm candidate identity has led to the use of biometric devices such as iris scans and ngerprinting as well as login and password protocols Screen-mounted web cameras with motion and sound detection are used to control cheating in unsupervised locations Even then, it is clear that fully invigilated testing centres will need to be retained for the highest stakes assessments
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Security of Test Content Everyone involved in large scale testing or assessment knows the dangers attached to the security of test content This is why, traditionally, examinations have always been run on the same day at the same time at all assessment centres Where the same tests are used over extended periods of time, as is often the case in graduate recruitment, it may not take very long before the security of the materials is compromised When I worked at the Civil Service Selection Board in the 1980s, we were only too aware that there were organised groups of candidates who would each remember one test item and then get together to reconstitute the complete test paper later There was one biodata tool that was used for sifting purposes during that time where the average score between its rst and second use increased by 50% This is where tailored testing and item banking can come into its own in traditional question and answer tests, notwithstanding the costs identi ed by Melnick and Clauser involved in maintaining item banks Simulation offers a more interesting solution, but one that also creates special problems One of the features of even moderately realistic simulations is that the way they unfold can depend on candidate responses and behaviours It can also depend on the starting conditions for the simulation scenario Where the underlying model for the simulation allows this, it can result in no two candidates ever having quite the same assessment experience This can greatly enhance the security of the materials, which can be further improved by the fact that assessment may be continuous in the simulation so that there are no obvious test items for the candidate to remember
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The downside is that it may be dif cult to ensure the equivalence of different assessments Furthermore, it is not clear that common measures of test quality are appropriate For example, item response theories have a number of underpinning assumptions that are not met in this sort of exible simulation The need for local independence of items is clearly broken, since how the simulation unfolds is at least partly determined by previous responses This does not happen in the same way as in adaptive testing There, the system chooses what material to present next on the basis of previous answers but the answer to the next item is not usually dependent on previous answers In simulations, what happens next follows, more or less closely, the natural consequences of the actions the candidate has taken and, unless the chain of events is broken, future responses can often be affected by previous ones This is acceptable where a simulation is being used for training or development purposes but not for high stakes assessment In such situations, constraints need to be placed on the way in which scenarios unfold to ensure that the simulation does not get out of hand and that each candidate gets a fair chance to show their capabilities The assumption of unidimensionality will also usually be broken in simulations Most responses require the integrated application of a range of skills, often from quite different cognitive domains The design of the assessment and scoring regimes needs to be very clever if this problem is to be sidestepped Updating and Enhancing Simulations Historically, this has been regarded as an area of weakness for simulations Even minor changes in one part of a simulation often entailed major changes elsewhere Simulators that made use of highly realistic equipment, such as cockpit simulators, might require a complete rebuild if there were changes to their design As more use is being made of modular designs, graphics rather than video and scaled simulations, this is less of a problem, but the fact is that the costs associated with changing simulations are signi cantly greater than with traditional tests and this is a major constraint on their widespread use
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The Nature of the Assessment There are two main areas worth consideration here, the content of assessments and issues concerning standardisation and the equivalence of forms Content A recurring problem in the development of simulations is that far too often simulators are a bit of technology looking for an application I have lost count
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