ABSTRACT: A six step approach for developing computer based assessment in medical education.
Assessment, which entails the systematic evaluation of student learning, is an integral part of any educational process. Computer-based assessment (CBA) techniques provide a valuable resource to students seeking to evaluate their academic progress through instantaneous, personalized feedback. CBA reduces examination, grading and reviewing workloads and facilitates training. This paper describes a six step approach for developing CBA in higher education and evaluates student perceptions of computer-based summative assessment at the College of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University. A set of questionnaires were distributed to 341 third year medical students (161 female and 180 male) immediately after examinations in order to assess the adequacy of the system for the exam program. The respondents expressed high satisfaction with the first Saudi experience of CBA for final examinations. However, about 50% of them preferred the use of a pilot CBA before its formal application; hence, many did not recommend its use for future examinations. Both male and female respondents reported that the range of advantages offered by CBA outweighed any disadvantages. Further studies are required to monitor the extended employment of CBA technology for larger classes and for a variety of subjects at universities.