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.
|Stages of Assessment||CAA examples|
|Supporting students with the assessment||
|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:
- Motivating and encouraging students to practice skills by providing opportunities for formative assessment
- Broadening the range of knowledge assessed (e.g. creating websites or complex diagrams) and extending the range of assessment methods (e.g. peer assessment, self-assessment)
- Offering opportunities for more immediate feedback, as well as allowing feedback to be delivered in different ways.
Depending on the CAA application, there may be additional advantages from an organisational point of view:
- Increasing objectivity and consistency, for example, standardising marks and feedback
- Aiding administrative efficiency.
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.