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e-Assessment in Africa

In the rapidly evolving assessment landscape, e-assessment is a pivotal tool for transforming learning experiences on the African continent. The use of technology-enabled assessment to streamline and improve the assessment process can significantly enhance learning outcomes. The e-Assessment Association (eAA) is a not-for-profit focused on all things relating to the use of technology in assessment and is free to join.

The rationale for using e-assessment is compelling for any organisation involved in creating and delivering assessments. To reflect this importance, the eAA is running a brand-new event at our International Conference, which is running from 10th-12th  June. It will bring together thought leaders, senior staff and policymakers from national examination boards, ministries of education and regulators, for a roundtable discussion. There will be opportunities to discuss best practices, share examples and challenges, and network with leading national examination boards.

Whatever the organisation you work for does, if you deliver assessments, there are opportunities to use e-assessment.

So, what is e-Assessment?

The ‘e-‘in e-assessment is ‘electronic’. It can take many different forms and you may hear the terms such as technology-enabled assessment, digital assessment, computer-based testing, e-marking, e-portfolio, etc. They all come under the broad category of e-assessment. Plus, now with ‘online proctoring’, we have the addition of the proctoring or invigilation of the exam can be undertaken remotely from anywhere.  They all have the same thing in common in that the technology is being used to deliver and improve the exam/test/assessment.

Enhancing Accessibility, Scalability and Flexibility

One of the paramount advantages of e-assessment is its ability to transcend geographical and physical barriers. In a continent as vast and diverse as Africa, where access to educational facilities can be challenging due to distances or lack of infrastructure, e-assessment provides an opportunity to participate in assessments from any location with internet access. The scalability of e-assessment also makes it an ideal solution for accommodating the growing demand for education. Digital platforms can support a large number of users simultaneously without compromising on quality, which is crucial for addressing the educational needs of Africa’s burgeoning youth population. The technology also provides benefits for the learners with options around test-on-demand (i.e. when the learner is ready to take the test), or they can get immediate and more detailed feedback. Please don’t think that the challenges being faced in Africa are not also faced in other countries around the world. I have been involved in implementing e-assessment projects globally and I can assure you that it is the same technology that is being used in all those projects, in all the countries and they all have similar challenges.

It’s not just about the money.

I never like to use the word cheap, but it is a truism that you get what you pay for. The implementation of e-assessment can significantly reduce the logistical costs and resources traditionally associated with paper-based examinations, such as printing, travel and shipping costs, and storage. Of course, then there is the cost of the ‘e-‘. However, the key is understanding the total cost of ownership of the existing process and weighing this against the cost of moving to e-assessment. Plus, this is the real point. What the benefits are beyond the financial ones? Is it a student taking a professional exam so they can start their job as a nurse or a teacher? Is it a high school student being able to go to university as they were able to have their exam remarked? Is it a teacher not having an accident driving home as they were up late marking exams for a deadline? Is it accurately assessing a child in a classroom, so that they can be given the support they need for their learning? Not everything can have a price associated with it.

I’ve got to mention AI.

AI is the single thing that is and will continue to have the biggest impact on e-assessment. As an indication of its importance, the eAA is running an AI Symposium at our Annual Conference. As long as you know AI’s limitations and what it can and can’t do (they can’t do, is getting less by the way). Here’s the thing though, AI is biased. Generative AI models are built on Large Language Models which use biased data, as it is the data out there on the internet. Then again, people are biased. The key is knowing that there is bias and then managing it. Saying AI can’t be used is just not an option. Embrace it and deal with it, but don’t pretend it doesn’t exist, or dismiss it. The potential is immense, every day I see new ways that AI is making things better.

There is a downside of AI, it can be a great tool for learning, but it can also be a tool used for cheating. You just need to make sure that you have policies and procedures in place to deal with it. No system is perfect, it just has to be managed.


By embracing e-assessment, African exam boards, professional organisations, teacher training agencies, universities, TVET colleges, and institutions can pave the way for a future where quality assessment is within reach for every learner, ultimately contributing to the continent’s overall development and prosperity. While the benefits of e-assessment are clear, its successful implementation in Africa requires careful consideration of several factors, including infrastructure development, digital literacy, and the cultural context. Investments in internet access and educational technology are crucial, as is training for educators to effectively use e-assessment tools. The journey towards integrating e-assessment is an exciting opportunity to redefine the boundaries of education in Africa, promising a brighter, more inclusive future for all its learners.

What is the e-Assessment Association?

It is a not-for-profit aimed at promoting all things concerning technology-enabled assessment. It is free to join, please just click on the link here, and we provide access to case studies, best practice materials, podcasts, Special Interest Groups as well as a virtual conference. All of these are free to access.

As the CEO of eAA, I am always happy to answer any questions about e-assessment and how we might be able to support you and your organisation. or

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