Computer-based testing

The Board has endorsed a strategy for a carefully phased transition to computer-based testing (CBT) for key written exams, developed with guidance from the College Education Committee.

The February 2021 Divisional Written Examination will be offered via the current paper-based exam method. The initial rollout of CBT will be with the Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine (AFRM) Module 1 Assessment in mid-2021. A limited rollout of the Divisional Written Examination for Basic Trainees will then be run later that year. Trainees have asked for more than one Divisional Written Examination per year and we’re excited to be able to work towards delivering this.

The benefits of CBT include:

  • quicker turnaround of exam results
  • modernised exam delivery, bringing us in line with how exams are delivered by other Australasian Medical Colleges
  • potential to offer exams on-demand in the future
  • improved image quality and more control over image size
  • fewer score sheets and no unclear answers
  • lower security risk (compared to the distribution of physical papers)
  • easy to create new forms and questions types
  • more data to inform exam design (for example, how long candidates spend on each question)

To make CBT a success, a range of committees have been closely involved and consulted including the AFRM Assessment Committee, AFRM Education Committee, AFRM Trainees’ Committee, AFRM Council, College Trainees’ Committee, College Education Committee and all committees involved in assessments. A dedicated group of trainees and Fellows have also joined our CBT Working Group to provide advice and feedback.

This project addresses the recommendations in the Ferrier Hodgson (PDF) and BDO report (PDF), developed in response to the 2018 CBT Divisional Written Examination. We are making sure there will be a significant amount of time for testing. Mock exams will be run using live systems in test centres and strict conditions must be met before a College exam can be run as CBT. We are also finalising the arrangements for how a back-up exam will run should it be required.

We’ll go to open market in early 2020 to procure a supplier. A fair and rigorous procurement process will follow to ensure the solution best meets the needs of trainees and the RACP.  

Members will be kept updated with more information on the project as it develops.

If you have any questions about this project, please contact us.
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