- LAST REVIEWED: 29 July 2020
- LAST MODIFIED: 13 January 2014
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756810-0031
- LAST REVIEWED: 29 July 2020
- LAST MODIFIED: 13 January 2014
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756810-0031
With the introduction of the first computers in the 1970s, the potential of this new technology to generate not only new types of learning environments but also completely new settings for the design and administration of tests, was quickly recognized. Compared to the well-known paper-and-pencil tests, which imply a static presentation of test items with limited interactivity and which depend on complex logistics and administration procedures implemented by trained test administrators, computer-based tests seemed to offer a number of advantages. Due to the interactive testing environments and the data-processing capacities offered by the computer, these potential advantages and added values cover a range of new possibilities that might extend from standardized and automatized administration and scoring procedures through interactive and media-enriched new item types to the possibility of recording and exploiting behavioral data or the possibility of new test administration procedures such as adaptive testing. From a historical perspective, computer-based testing has also capitalized on the introduction of new psychometric models, especially the introduction of item response theory in the 1960s. Further, administering tests on computers opens the door toward the measurement of psychological constructs that have been beyond the reach of paper-and-pencil instruments, because they require interactions in complex environments and can only be accessed through observations in natural settings. The computer offers the possibility to simulate these environments, to record important interactions, and thus to administer tests for these interactive constructs in an efficient and scalable way. This would not be feasible without this new technology. In the last decades, research on computer-based testing has thus experienced a considerable development, as the empirical basis for the potential added value of computer-based tests compared to classical paper-and-pencil instruments had to be developed. However, computer-based testing did not only come with advantages. A number of technical and theoretical challenges related to these tests, such as the availability and compatibility of hardware and software or the need for large item banks have been initially underestimated. Today, one of the major challenges of the field is the development of truly interactive test formats that take full advantage of the technical possibilities offered by the computer. These developments raise a number of challenges in the field of theory development related to the new technology enriched constructs, in the field of psychometric developments related to new complex types of test data, and in the field of IT development related to the need for comparable hard- and software components.
The advent of computer-based testing in the 1970s and the massive introduction of computers in the following decades in professional work environments and in private households led to an almost excessive optimism toward the new possibilities offered by the computer as testing platform. The potential changes that the introduction of computer-based testing (CBT) would imply for the field of educational measurement were described in Bunderson, et al. 1989, which predicted four successive generations of computerized tests. Despite this initial optimism and despite major advances in the field over the last decades, it has to be acknowledged from today’s perspective that the field of computer-based testing has not evolved as rapidly as initially foreseen. For instance, the technological and theoretical implications of computer-based testing have a potential impact on test validity and it is thus important to confront the potential benefits of CBT with its potential threats, as done in Huff and Sireci 2001. It is today also widely acknowledged that due to their technical embedding, computer-based tests have different development and quality assurance processes as well as different life cycles than those that have been well known for decades for paper-and-pencil test instruments and batteries. These differences and the need to integrate knowledge about software life cycles into the development and maintenance of computer-based tests are described in Schegel and Gilliland 2007. Despite a certain number of common features of computer-based test instruments, reviews of existing instruments reveal that test quality has nevertheless to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis as illustrated in Wild, et al. 2008. The two last references both originate from health-related domains, thus illustrating that in this domain a large number of applications in the field of computer-based testing has been generated. Furthermore, the development and delivery of computer-based tests requires dedicated quality assurance processes, which are different in a number of ways from those described for paper-and-pencil instruments. Detailed guidelines for computer-based testing have been published by the International Test Commission 2005. The whole field of CBT is currently evolving rapidly, as the technological environment for the delivery of computer-based tests is increasingly available; but many issues related to the potential and the added value of computerized tests are only emerging today, so that ambitious research agendas for the development of the field are set up as described in Scheuermann and Guimarães Pereira 2008.
Bunderson, Victos C., Dilkon K. Inouye, and James B. Olsen. 1989. The four generations of computerized educational measurement. Educational measurement 3:367–407.
Outlines a framework for the potential development of computer-based testing as seen from the perspective of the late 1980s. The advent of four different generations of tests is expected: computerized testing, computerized adaptive testing, continuous measurement, and intelligent measurement. The comparison of these initial expectations with the real development of the field is compelling.
Huff, Kirsten L., and Stephen G. Sireci. 2001. Validity issues in computer-based testing. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice 20:16–25.
Based on a definition of validity, this article provides a systematic analysis of potential benefits and threats for the validity of originally paper-and-pencil test instruments when the mode of delivery of these tests is switched to computer-based test administration.
International Test Commission. 2005. International guidelines on computer-based and Internet delivered testing. Gainesville, FL: International Test Commission.
With this document, the International Test Commission provides an extensive set of recommendations for good practices in the field of computer-based and Internet-delivered tests. The main objective is to raise awareness among all the concerned stakeholders with regard to quality aspects related to this specific type of test delivery.
Schegel, Robert E., and Kirby Gilliland. 2007. Development and quality assurance of computer-based assessment batteries. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology 22:49–61.
Provides an overview of the life cycle of computer-based assessment batteries and proposes a model for the implementation of a systematic quality assurance process for this type of test batteries in the field of health-related research.
Scheuermann, Friedrich, and Angela Guimarães Pereira, eds. 2008. Towards a research agenda on computer-based assessment: Challenges and needs for European educational measurement. Luxembourg City: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.
Describes from a European perspective a research agenda for the field of computer-based assessment showing the diversity of aspects that have to be considered in order to develop the entire field.
Wild, Katherine, Diane Howieson, Frank Webbe, Adriana Seelye, and Jeffrey Kaye. 2008. Status of computerizí cognitive testing in aging: A systematic review. Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association 4:428–437.
Provides a systematic review of the potential benefit of computer-based testing for the assessment of cognitive skills in a population of elderly people. Even if it targets a specific content domain, the article provides an interesting insight into the variability of computer-based assessment batteries and stresses the need to judge these batteries on a case-by-case basis.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
How to Subscribe
Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.
- Academic Achievement
- Academic Audit for Universities
- Academic Freedom and Tenure in the United States
- Action Research in Education
- Adjuncts in Higher Education in the United States
- Administrator Preparation
- Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Courses
- Advocacy and Activism in Early Childhood
- African American Racial Identity and Learning
- Alaska Native Education
- Alternative Certification Programs for Educators
- Alternative Schools
- American Indian Education
- Art Education
- Artificial Intelligence and Learning
- Assessing School Leader Effectiveness
- Assessment, Behavioral
- Assessment, Educational
- Assessment in Early Childhood Education
- Assistive Technology
- Augmented Reality in Education
- Beginning-Teacher Induction
- Bilingual Education and Bilingualism
- Blended Learning
- Case Study in Education Research
- Changing Professional and Academic Identities
- Character Education
- Children’s and Young Adult Literature
- Children's Beliefs about Intelligence
- Children's Rights in Early Childhood Education
- Citizenship Education
- Civic and Social Engagement of Higher Education
- Classroom Learning Environments: Assessing and Investigati...
- Classroom Management
- Coherent Instructional Systems at the School and School Sy...
- College Admissions in the United States
- College Athletics in the United States
- Community Relations
- Comparative Education
- Computer-Based Testing
- Conceptualizing, Measuring, and Evaluating Improvement Net...
- Continuous Improvement and "High Leverage" Educational Pro...
- Counseling in Schools
- Critical Perspectives on Educational Innovation and Improv...
- Critical Race Theory
- Crossborder and Transnational Higher Education
- Cross-National Research on Continuous Improvement
- Cross-Sector Research on Continuous Learning and Improveme...
- Cultural Diversity in Early Childhood Education
- Culturally Responsive Leadership
- Culturally Responsive Pedagogies
- Culturally Responsive Teacher Education in the United Stat...
- Curriculum Design
- Data Collection in Educational Research
- Data-driven Decision Making in the United States
- Deaf Education
- Desegregation and Integration
- Design Thinking and the Learning Sciences: Theoretical, Pr...
- Development, Moral
- Dialogic Pedagogy
- Digital Age Teacher, The
- Digital Citizenship
- Digital Divides
- Distance Learning
- Distributed Leadership
- Doctoral Education and Training
- Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) in Denmark
- Early Childhood Education and Development in Mexico
- Early Childhood Education in Aotearoa New Zealand
- Early Childhood Education in Australia
- Early Childhood Education in China
- Early Childhood Education in Europe
- Early Childhood Education in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Early Childhood Education in Sweden
- Early Childhood Education Pedagogy
- Early Childhood Education Policy
- Early Childhood Education, The Arts in
- Early Childhood Mathematics
- Early Childhood Science
- Early Childhood Teacher Education
- Early Childhood Teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand
- Early Years Professionalism and Professionalization Polici...
- Economics of Education
- Education For Children with Autism
- Education for Sustainable Development
- Education Leadership, Empirical Perspectives in
- Education of Native Hawaiian Students
- Education Reform and School Change
- Educational Statistics for Longitudinal Research
- Educator Partnerships with Parents and Families with a Foc...
- Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
- Epistemic Beliefs
- Equity and Improvement: Engaging Communities in Educationa...
- Equity, Ethnicity, Diversity, and Excellence in Education
- Ethical Research with Young Children
- Ethics and Education
- Ethics of Teaching
- Ethnic Studies
- Evidence-Based Communication Assessment and Intervention
- Family and Community Partnerships in Education
- Family Day Care
- Federal Government Programs and Issues
- Feminization of Labor in Academia
- Finance, Education
- Financial Aid
- Formative Assessment
- Future-Focused Education
- Gender and Achievement
- Gender and Alternative Education
- Gifted Education
- Global Mindedness and Global Citizenship Education
- Global University Rankings
- Governance, Education
- Grounded Theory
- Growth of Effective Mental Health Services in Schools in t...
- Higher Education and Globalization
- Higher Education and the Developing World
- Higher Education Faculty Characteristics and Trends in the...
- Higher Education Finance
- Higher Education Governance
- Higher Education Graduate Outcomes and Destinations
- Higher Education in Africa
- Higher Education in China
- Higher Education in Latin America
- Higher Education in the United States, Historical Evolutio...
- Higher Education, International Issues in
- Higher Education Management
- Higher Education Policy
- Higher Education Research
- Higher Education Student Assessment
- High-stakes Testing
- History of Early Childhood Education in the United States
- History of Education in the United States
- History of Technology Integration in Education
- Inclusion in Early Childhood: Difference, Disability, and ...
- Inclusive Education
- Indigenous Education in a Global Context
- Indigenous Learning Environments
- Indigenous Students in Higher Education in the United Stat...
- Infant and Toddler Pedagogy
- Inservice Teacher Education
- Integrating Art across the Curriculum
- Intensive Interventions for Children and Adolescents with ...
- International Perspectives on Academic Freedom
- Intersectionality and Education
- Knowledge Development in Early Childhood
- Leadership Development, Coaching and Feedback for
- Leadership in Early Childhood Education
- Leadership Training with an Emphasis on the United States
- Learning Analytics in Higher Education
- Learning Difficulties
- Learning, Lifelong
- Learning, Multimedia
- Learning Strategies
- Legal Matters and Education Law
- LGBT Youth in Schools
- Linguistic Diversity
- Linguistically Inclusive Pedagogy
- Literacy Development and Language Acquisition
- Literature Reviews
- Mathematics Identity
- Mathematics Instruction and Interventions for Students wit...
- Mathematics Teacher Education
- Measurement for Improvement in Education
- Measurement in Education in the United States
- Meta-Analysis and Research Synthesis in Education
- Methodological Approaches for Impact Evaluation in Educati...
- Methodologies for Conducting Education Research
- Mindfulness, Learning, and Education
- Mixed Methods Research
- Multiliteracies in Early Childhood Education
- Multiple Documents Literacy: Theory, Research, and Applica...
- Multivariate Research Methodology
- Museums, Education, and Curriculum
- Music Education
- Narrative Research in Education
- Native American Studies
- Numeracy Education
- One-to-One Technology in the K-12 Classroom
- Online Education
- Open Education
- Organizing for Continuous Improvement in Education
- Organizing Schools for the Inclusion of Students with Disa...
- Outdoor Play and Learning
- Outdoor Play and Learning in Early Childhood Education
- Pedagogical Leadership
- Pedagogy of Teacher Education, A
- Performance Objectives and Measurement
- Performance-based Research Assessment in Higher Education
- Performance-based Research Funding
- Phenomenology in Educational Research
- Philosophy of Education
- Physical Education
- Podcasts in Education
- Policy Context of United States Educational Innovation and...
- Politics of Education
- Portable Technology Use in Special Education Programs and ...
- Pre-Service Teacher Education
- Problem Solving
- Productivity and Higher Education
- Professional Development
- Professional Learning Communities
- Program Evaluation
- Programs and Services for Students with Emotional or Behav...
- Psychology Learning and Teaching
- Psychometric Issues in the Assessment of English Language ...
- Qualitative Data Analysis Techniques
- Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Research Samp...
- Qualitative Research Design
- Quantitative Research Designs in Educational Research
- Race and Affirmative Action in Higher Education
- Reading Education
- Refugee and New Immigrant Learners
- Relational and Developmental Trauma and Schools
- Relational Pedagogies in Early Childhood Education
- Reliability in Educational Assessments
- Religion in Elementary and Secondary Education in the Unit...
- Researcher Development and Skills Training within the Cont...
- Research-Practice Partnerships in Education within the Uni...
- Response to Intervention
- Restorative Practices
- Scale and Sustainability of Education Innovation and Impro...
- Scaling Up Research-based Educational Practices
- School Accreditation
- School Choice
- School Culture
- School District Budgeting and Financial Management in the ...
- School Improvement through Inclusive Education
- School Reform
- Schools, Private and Independent
- School-Wide Positive Behavior Support
- Science Education
- Secondary to Postsecondary Transition Issues
- Self-Regulated Learning
- Self-Study of Teacher Education Practices
- Severe Disabilities
- Single Salary Schedule
- Single-sex Education
- Single-Subject Research Design
- Social Context of Education
- Social Justice
- Social Network Analysis
- Social Pedagogy
- Social Science and Education Research
- Social Studies Education
- Sociology of Education
- Standards-Based Education
- Statistical Assumptions
- Student Access, Equity, and Diversity in Higher Education
- Student Assignment Policy
- Student Engagement in Tertiary Education
- Student Learning, Development, Engagement, and Motivation ...
- Student Participation
- Student Voice in Teacher Development
- Sustainability Education in Early Childhood Education
- Sustainability in Early Childhood Education
- Sustainability in Higher Education
- Teacher Beliefs and Epistemologies
- Teacher Collaboration in School Improvement
- Teacher Evaluation and Teacher Effectiveness
- Teacher Preparation
- Teacher Training and Development
- Teacher Unions and Associations
- Teacher-Student Relationships
- Teaching Critical Thinking
- Technologies, Teaching, and Learning in Higher Education
- Technology Education in Early Childhood
- Technology, Educational
- Technology-based Assessment
- The Bologna Process
- The Regulation of Standards in Higher Education
- Theories of Educational Leadership
- Three Conceptions of Literacy: Media, Narrative, and Gamin...
- Tracking and Detracking
- Traditions of Quality Improvement in Education
- Transformative Learning
- Transitions in Early Childhood Education
- Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities in the Unite...
- Understanding the Psycho-Social Dimensions of Schools and ...
- University Faculty Roles and Responsibilities in the Unite...
- Using Ethnography in Educational Research
- Value of Higher Education for Students and Other Stakehold...
- Virtual Learning Environments
- Vocational and Technical Education
- Wellness and Well-Being in Education
- Women's and Gender Studies
- Young Children and Spirituality
- Young Children's Learning Dispositions
- Young Children's Working Theories