Terminology in Electronic Assessment (E-assessment)

Various terms are used to describe the use of a computer for assessment purposes. These include:

1. Computer-Assisted Assessment or Computer-Aided Assessment (CAA)

2. Computer-Mediated Assessment (CMA)

3. Computer-Based Assessment (CBA)

4. online assessment.

Although these terms are commonly used interchangeably, they have distinct meanings.

Computer Assisted/Mediated Assessment refers to any application of computers within the assessment process; the role of the computer may be extrinsic or intrinsic. It is, therefore, a synonym for e-assessment which also describes a wide range of computer-related activities. Within this definition the computer often plays no part in the actual assessment of responses but merely facilitates the capture and transfer of responses between candidate and human assessor.

Computer-Based Assessment refers to assessment which is built around the use of a computer; the use of a computer is always intrinsic to this type of assessment. This can relate to assessment of IT practical skills or more commonly the on screen presentation of knowledge tests. The defining factor is that the computer is marking or assessing the responses provided from candidates.

Online assessment refers to assessment activity which requires the use of the internet. In reality few high stakes assessment sessions are actually conducted online in real time but the transfer of data prior to and after the assessment session is conducted via the internet. There are many examples of practice and diagnostic tests being run real time over the internet.