Evaluating Outcomes of Computer-Based Classroom Testing: Student Acceptance and Impact on Learning and Exam Performance

What is it?

The dental school switched from paper-based examinations to a computer-based system called ExamSoft. This study examined pre-doctoral dental students' acceptance of ExamSoft and factors impacting their acceptance, and aimed to explore the impact of ExamSoft on perceived student learning and examination performance.

What problem does it aim to solve?

The study aimed to answer four main questions:

  1. How well is ExamSoft accepted as an assessment and learning tool by predoctoral dental students at the school?
  2. To what extent do personal factors such as prior computer-based testing experience and computer skills and perceived ease of use/usefulness impact acceptance?
  3. What is students' perceived impact of ExamSoft on their learning?
  4. What is the impact ExamSoft on students' examination performance?

How does it work?

The study found that ExamSoft was well accepted by the students as an assessment and learning tool. Those who found the software easy to use and useful for learning were more likely to accept the software. Self-reported computer skills were found to be a significant predictor of students' comfort level of taking classroom examinations on a computer. Students reported that the timely and detailed exam performance reports provided by faculty were helpful for their learning and helped them identify their strength and weakness. They expressed the desire for all faculty to consistently provide detailed exam performance reports. It is unclear from the findings how CBT impacted students' examination performance.

What are the real-world implications?

Computer-based testing offers several unique features that are not available in printed assessment. Faculty are encouraged to provide timely and useful exam performance feedback to students. A significant percentage of students experience anxiety around computer-based exams; this rate could be lowered with training and responsive technical support.

What are the next steps?

Further research on the factors that affect student performance on tests would be useful, since there were no clear findings in this study.

computer and mouse


"Evaluating outcomes of computer-based classroom testing: Student acceptance and impact on learning and exam performance"Medical Teacher, 2018 Mar 13:1-8.


Meixun Sinky Zheng and Daniel Bender
Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, University of the Pacific, San Francisco, CA, USA