2. The key technology design of digital examinations

2.1 The overall design of digital examinations

The research adheres to the concept and principles of modern examinations, in order to clarify the functions and characteristics of digital examinations, and the characteristics of distance learners. It aims to solve the five main problems facing the OUC in terms of the interconnection and sharing of internal and external teaching and graduation assessment information. Figure 4 puts forwards an overall design plan for digital examinations. 
Figure 4 Design model for digital examinations

Figure 4 aims to demonstrate the internal design of digital examinations, as well as their relationship with external teaching, teaching administration and graduation examination. Based on the standard contents and characteristics of examinations, digital examinations can be divided into five modules: recording of study behavior, cultivating study interest, formative assessment, summative examination, and accreditation of existing learning outcomes. Different modules can choose different assessment methods, for example, Internet browsing traces and video study records can be used to assess study behavior; group discussions, post records, study plans and book reports can be used to assess cultivation of study interest. Self-testings, periodic testings, social surveys, experimental simulation, and distance video interviews can be used as formative assessment methods. Summative examination and item response testing can be used as summative assessment methods. Credit transfer can be used as a method for accreditation of existing learning outcomes. The integration of teaching, learning and assessment can be demonstrated through content and forms. In terms of content, study progress is included directly as a part of the digital examination process. At the same time, it is not enough to focus on the testing and assessment functions of examinations; rather, more attention should be paid to their supervisory and motivational functions. For example, when a student gives a wrong answer, relevant analysis and knowledge should be provided. In terms of format, records of study behavior, cultivation of study interest, and formative assessment modules can be directly explored within the teaching and teaching administration platform, so that students have the ability to study, test and evaluate concurrently. Digital examinations should follow the wider development path of information technology. The first three modules can be explored in conjunction with the Internet, tablet computers, mobile phones, and the Internet of things, so that students can study and take tests at any time. The summative assessment modules can combine distance monitoring, preregistered examinations, virtual simulation and online marking, so that students can book an examination anytime, anywhere. Capacity level test for examination items is an evaluation method based on item response theory, which is a relatively new method. It is still unclear whether this assessment method can be used for digital examinations, so it will be necessary to carry out pilot tests. Connecting the databases will focus resources for construction and establish a unified test library that can be used for formative and summative assessment, and to assess the students’ learning capacity. 

3. Maximizing the usefulness of examination information

Examinations and teaching are interact and promote each other. A positive closed-loop cycle should be formed between the two, helping to promote the development of education as a whole. Therefore, it is necessary to expand the exploration and utilization of digital information, give full play to the feedback function of information, and enhance the efficiency and functionality of information. The digital examination process can be divided into information management, information education and information evaluation. Information management focuses on monitoring the quality of digital examinations. Information education and information evaluation are mainly used to reflect on the overall quality of teaching and education. In information management, parameter design statistics can be used to adjust the attribute of test bank. Test exposure statistics can be used as guide to modify and eliminate test items. Answer cases and materials can be used to update and extend the test library. Test point score statistics can use units with relatively higher or lower statistical parameters as key objectives for discipline monitoring. The statistical comparison and analysis of course scores can be used as important reference for course reform. Difficulty analysis can be used as evidence for the reform of test contents. We can analyze wrong answers to help students improve their study methods and increase their motivation. During information evaluation, mainly during the student graduate quality examination, excellent graduate election and education and teaching evaluation, we can use the test statistical information and test quality monitoring process to give a general overview.

4. Integration of information technology and examinations

The integration of information technology and examinations is a fundamental characteristic of digital examinations. The impact of information technology on examination can not only be seen in the examination forms and methods, but also in the examination content. Examination content needs to be converted into a digital test library format, which can be maintained in the long term. Examinations should focus on covering the relevant knowledge points. With the application of information technology, and by combining item response assessment theory, we will be able to test the students’ knowledge capacity independently for each item through the game-based instructional design, which integrates all key knowledge points. In terms of examination format, formative assessment exercise books will be replaced by online assessment during the teaching process. Written examinations will be replaced by preregistered online examinations. Face-to-face interviews and debates will become video-based question and debate sessions. Listening tests will be made available online and experiments will be conducted using simulated Internet-based content. Traditional examination methods and equipment will be replaced by computers, mobile phones, tablet computers and the Internet. 

5. People-first design

People-first design is centred around three aspects: examination paper design, content design and individualized services (as shown in Figure 4). At the examination design level, we should emphasize the psychological aspect and use encouraging and accessible words to show human care and integrity. During the process of answering the questions, if the student misses a page or item, the computer can send an automatic reminder. The arrangement of test items should alternate between simple and complicated, to give the students time to rest. Each paper should include a diverse range of question types that both meet the needs of different learning styles, and also help to maintain interest during the test process. Questions can be designed around case studies that are applicable to students’ real lives. Analysis of wrong answers will help students to strengthen their learning skills and overcome difficulties. In terms of individualized service, we suggest that examination resources are provided in accordance with the needs of individual users; these resources should have self-assessment functionalities embedded with them, to encourage students to take initiative during their studies and cultivate their own interests. Multiple online examination dates and times can help to solve work-study conflicts for adult learners. Each student will have their own individual student information management platform. They will be able to view their study and examination activity from one window.