About Computer-Assisted Assessment

What is CAA?

JISC (2010) define CAA (Computer-Assisted Assessment) as the application of computers to assessment processes, including delivery of tests, capture of responses and marking by either computer or human marker. According to this definition, CAA can be used in any stage of the assessment process (see table, below). This is in contrast to Computer-Based Assessment (CBA) which refers to assessments both delivered and marked by computer (see Computer-Based Assessment):

The table below shows some stages in the assessment process alongside typical applications of CAA in relation to these.

Table: Stages in the assessment process and CAA Examples

Stages of AssessmentCAA examples
Supporting students with the assessment
  • Facilitate a discussion with my students on assessments and criteria
  • Provide past exam papers to students or other assessment information
Assessment event
  • Assess an online collaborative activity
  • Assess students' development over time
Marking & feedback production Students submit assessments electronically
Record-keeping Store and retrieve marks electronically
Feedback to students Facilitate peer and/or tutor feedback

Why use CAA?

There are a number of benefits associated with the use of CAA (Bull and McKenna, 2004). These include:

Depending on the CAA application, there may be additional advantages from an organisational point of view:

However, there are some considerations to be borne in mind. Implementing some of the above might require an extra investment of time and effort, even if savings are made in the long run. There might also be security issues, and an increased dependency on IT departments to adequately support hardware and software.