Online testing industry matures as leaders formulate standards

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As online education continues to experience unheralded growth and popularity, many groups have begun to develop standards and best practices for the emerging technology. In collaboration with the Sloan Consortium, ProctorU also set out to obtain information regarding current industry practices in an effort to build a solid foundation for the industry. The survey produced some surprising results from academic leaders, support staff and administrators.

Academia is strongly supportive of the effectiveness of online education, with 72.3 percent agreeing that online exams are as effective as face-to-face exams. The complete results of the survey and associated webinar can be found here.

ProctorU isn’t the only one studying the effectiveness of technology on education. The most recent push is by the Global Learning Council (GLC), headed by Carnegie Mellon University president Subra Suresh, entitled the Simon Initiative.

The GLC’s main purpose is to “develop standards, identify best practices, and encourage engagement through the use of science and technology.”

Carnegie Mellon researchers have been studying learning behaviors and interactions with technology for decades and the group plans to provide open access to the data they have collected over that period.

GLC will draw on a wealth of experience from industry and academia, including Google, Microsoft, Coursera, Stanford University and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Hunter Rawlings, president of the Association of American Universities and GLC member, said “… even as online education expands rapidly and on an enormous scale, there is very little good research on the best forms of online learning, and, I might add, there are no good studies on what constitutes bad online pedagogy, of which there is a fair amount.”