We are living in an environment where in we see major competitive exams for school students are going online. For example KVPY, BITSAT, VITEEE & JEE Main(which is optional at the moment) is online. More is expected to follow suit in the coming years. The day is not very far when all major competitive exams will go online. Precisely because it is easy to administer, manage, evaluate and publish results. More so the application process & distribution of admit cards has also gone online.
More than 3 Lakhs school students appear for various competitive exams in online form every year. Few of the exams are optional though. But this figure can witness a sharp rise when the optional online exams are mandatorily converted to an online form. For example, if JEE Main becomes mandatorily online then 13 Lakhs students add up straight away to the total online test takers number. With the global online training and assessment market is expected to reach over USD 100 bn very soon (as per research data), it is imperative that it will have very strong cascading effect in India. Though we are seeing huge action in this space but it is surely going to be – “the next big thing” in the next 3-5 years window.
The Indian start-up fraternity were quick to identify this opportunity and have started flooding the market with ideas, products & services with the hope of monetizing. The core focus by these start-ups has been on “how to make the life of aspirants easy”. What has been a BIG miss is the relevance of their product and/or their service. A very little has been done to ascertain “what a student needs, to crack a competitive exam”. Content plays a very crucial role here along with the test interface. Let us clinically evaluate the situation with an example
Let’s say a student is preparing for JEE and decides to appear for JEE Main in an online form. By doing so, the student will have to adopt a huge tactical change in approaching the paper. Since writing a test in paper form is absolutely different from appearing the same test in online form. A test taker has to :
- Get acclimatized in an online form
- Increase efficiency by managing time
- Increase their eye span for reading questions from screen
- Manage fatigue which often results out of sitting for long duration in front of a computer doing serious work
- Manage body clock.
For an online assessment-service provider the key focus area is to create a platform that addresses the
- Relevance of questions from target exam perspective,
- The test Interface,
- The Test environment,
- Manoeuvring tools within the test,
- Font size of questions & color scheme,
- Placement of timer & answer options on screen etc.
Hence a testing platform has to be completely in sync with the actual test environment.
The other objective of “online assessment” has to address the accuracy and consistency of exam pattern, offer varied marking system so that a student is able to handle any kind of surprises (primarily higher negative marking). Finally, the testing platform should give out detailed analytics driven performance report which will enable a student to comprehend their performance better. It should typically include :
- Reports that are graphically represented in the form of charts depicting subject wise, chapter wise and topic wise performance,
- Time taken to solve a question – which in a way indicates the student’s proficiency on the topic from which the question was asked.
- Relative performance benchmark – a student’s performance with respect to other students
- Marks breakdown
- Accuracy breakdown
- Rank potential index
- Success potential index
- Scope of improvement
- And finally the All India Rank.
Needless to mention that a testing platform should be seen as a supplementary tool for preparation in line with actual competitive exam and NOT as a tool what a start-up assumes as is required to make a student’s life easy. At the end of the day in a competitive exam one has to perform better than the others. That can only be achieved by practicing in a relevant environment for a sustained period of time constantly evaluating the progress and by seeking out mentors help to plug loopholes.
myPAT (My Performance Analysis Test) : powered by EDFORA is an online platform for learning through assessment, analysis and identification of improvement areas. The system allows an user to set academic goals, build proficiency, develop temperament and most importantly benchmark ones performance with respect to equally talented students, PAN India. It has partnered with FIITJEE for content thus enabling the test papers of very high quality with high degree of relevance.