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Academics Test Electronic Assessment System

2013/08/13 11:00:40 AM

The time consuming task of marking scripts might be a thing of the past for staff members if the pilot testing phase of the implementation of Riddel - an electronic assessment system - by the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance academics Ms Upasana Singh and Dr Ziska Fields is a success.

Ms Upasana Singh and Dr Ziska Fields deliberating about Riddel.Ms Upasana Singh and Dr Ziska Fields deliberating about Riddel.
The academics are testing the system during August and September to ascertain its feasibility and benefits for adoption at the University.

Riddel, was developed by a University of Limpopo Senior Lecturer of Histology in the Department of Anatomy, Dr Pieter Ackermann, five years ago. It is a computer testing system with a facility for reading speed tests and language and grammar testing.

The motivating factor for the adoption of the system is that it would reduce the marking burden of lecturers allowing them more time for research which is the University’s priority. The system does all marking automatically, offering extensive statistical reporting facilities and special features that allow questions to be re-marked or excluded while automatically updating student marks.

‘We were impressed by the innovative ideas and the problems Riddel could potentially solve,’ said Fields. ‘We will need to get students and the academics used to the system so we will test it on first year, third year and postgraduate students because it must be beneficial for everyone.’

Under the guidance of Ackermann who recently gave a lecture at the School, Singh has already created a successful dummy-testing structure. However, the key elements to consider when it comes to any electronic system are safety and cost.

Singh explains that since the system runs on a local network they are confident the data will be secure.

‘Because the questions and answers are not saved on the server and you only load the questions 30 minutes before the test we are confident about the security factor. The licensing fee for the system is R50 000 a year which is cost effective when you consider that using the system will eliminate the problems of missing scripts and students saying they submitted their papers when they did not,’ said Singh.

The most important aspect of this system is that it runs on a local network, making it much faster than many of the proprietary systems.’

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