Computer-based testing versus computerized adaptive testing

The advent of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has made it possible for the application of computers to every human endeavour. Assessment of human ability and other related psychological measures within the educational sectors are not left out. Therefore, this paper focused on the examination of computer-based testing as it relates to computerized adaptive testing with the objectives of identifying the issues, challenges and prospects for quality education in Africa. The paper is hinged on the Item Response Theory (IRT) which has enabled computerized adaptive testing (CAT) as a form of computer-based testing (CBT) that adapts to the examinees’ ability level. There is no doubt that certain issues are involved in computer-based testing such as test items, test instructions, item parameters, analysis of test scores, publication of results, steps in computerized adaptive testing and so on. These issues are examined in this paper. Numerous advantages have been pointed out to include paperless testing, flexibility in testing schedules, test security/better control of item exposure, quicker test item updating, and immediate results publication, among others. Also examined in this paper are challenges faced in computer-based testing in developing nations with a focus in Nigeria. These challenges include development of item banks, administration of computer-based test, security of test items, large scale testing, availability/cost implication of computer-based test, security of test items, large scale testing, availability/cost implication of computer-based testing software, computer literacy among examiners and examinees, power interruption during testing and so on. The paper finally suggested ways forward in eradicating these challenges in order to ensure enhanced quality education.