Psychometricians Agree That Standardised Testing Will Ease Student Pressure Around Undergraduate Examinations

Selecting the right candidates and evaluating them based on their aptitude skills is imperative for universities to get the best out of the students. Psychometric tests represent a fair, reliable and valid for of examination that helps universities achieve this objective

For prospective students, the stress of competing with hundreds of thousands of other students for a place at a preferred university and to secure a path to a chosen profession and the stress of deciding your profession and career path at the start of your university education, can be overwhelming. 

According to research conducted by Vedatma, 86 per cent of Indian students are concerned about which subject stream to choose for higher education. The study also found that over 30 per cent of students are unhappy with the course that they picked, which translates into half a million dissatisfied university students. The same study found that only 30 per cent of Indian graduates are currently considered employable by various firms. This demonstrates a fundamental disconnect between students, universities and employers. 

What is needed is a process of admissions that matches the correct university and field of study, to the correct student. Further, selecting the right candidates and evaluating them based on their aptitude skills is imperative for universities to get the best out of the students. Psychometric tests represent a fair, reliable and valid for of examination that helps universities achieve this objective.

A programme like the standardised exams for university admissions offered by Pearson VUE, and which has already been adopted by over 150 universities across India aims to decrease the stress, risk, and administration for both students and universities. It achieves this by taking a different approach to the student evaluation process.

Psychometricians (a field of study within psychology concerned with the theory and technique of measurement) responsible for the development of the standardised university examination agree that a lone subjective test is ill placed to determine if a student is capable of succeeding in the subject associated with their vocational education. 

Further, they agree that the technique of rote memorisation for examinations must be done away with. Psychometricians advocate for standardised tests as a far more effective assessment tool, especially for higher education admission in not only India, but worldwide. In addition, such examinations will encourage practice testing, and would result in students focusing more towards understanding the concepts and applying their aptitude skills by continuously taking practice exams and understanding the questions.

Such psychometric tests increasingly being used by large global employers to objectively measure attributes such as candidates’ cognitive abilities, personality types, knowledge and numeracy and literacy skills. In addition, the Indian government fully supports the implementation of testing frameworks encompassing standardised assessments through its ‘National Education Policy’.

Through this standardised entrance exam process, students fully understand and appreciate the selection criteria and the process's objective; it is meant to help them better understand the path to their chosen career and guide them in making the correct decisions that will fulfil their true potential. This coupled with the extensive benefits of the exam process for the students that drastically reduce the stress around taking the test, which in part leads to higher test scores. 

For a market as large and diverse as India’s, online standardised testing can ensure less stress and more convenience for both universities and student community. 

We all have experienced how challenging it was during the Covid-19 phase when it was difficult to travel for physical exams. Instead create an environment that can provide the convenience and flexibility to take exams at home or at the office. The entrance exam should be convenient for candidate to take it anytime, anywhere. 

Allow for greater rescheduling options. Candidates are forced to drop back a year due to unavailability for various reasonable reasons. This should not be an abstraction to candidates wanting to take the test. With re-scheduling options candidates become confident to take the exam at their convenience. 

By providing longer windows for testing, candidates are enabled to take their test at their convenience. In addition, universities to get access far ahead of their actual admissions season and give ample time to assess and evaluate candidates based on their scores.

The calibre of students that apply for standardised tests are far stronger, and the selection criteria is far more detailed and reflective of the true aptitude of the student. This leads to a student intake that will reflect a best match to the university and to the course work, and a higher academic achievement for the university over the long run. Continuous implementation of the standardised tests will only improve these academic outcomes.

About the author

- The author is Divyalok Chetan Sharma, Vice President, India and SAARC, Pearson VUE

Disclaimer: This content, part of BW Businessworld’s paid partnerships, is neither authored nor edited by BW editorial team.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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