Are Online Tests valid and Reliable?

With the covid-19 the major shift that taking place is in the education system. Everything, from teaching to taking exams has become online. This has resulted in a lot of questions like the reliability of taking online exams. Are they valid for examining the students and much more? If you are an academic guide or a teacher, this question must be wandering your mind. There are various tricks that you can incorporate while taking online exams to increase your validity. But it is important to know if these tests are valid or not.

Quick Takeaways

  • There is no doubt that the online tests are valid and reliable. 
  • However, it is only possible if you are following the proper guidelines.
  • Following are the ways by which you can make online exams more accurate-
1. Determine the purpose of the test
2. Giving the consistent environment
3. Set the question paper
4. Add a lot of questions
5. Reviewing the question paper
6. Appropriate Tools
7. Use the user-friendly interface platforms
8. Monitoring Students

However, you must read till the end so that you do not miss any important facts related to the online tests.

Are Online Tests valid and Reliable?

Are online tests valid and reliable?

Online tests are always valid and reliable because many guidelines are followed in taking them. Although if you do not follow them, then obviously it may lack validity. It becomes more valid when they produce consistent results. If while taking the tests, you find some variations in the results, then there is something unreliable or not valid. 

Furthermore, the reliability depends on the structure of the examination taken. If the questions added in the online examination are not up to the purpose of the examination, then there will be less validity in taking the exam. The validity of the examination depends upon its reliability. This means that the examination may be consistent i.e. reliable but it may not be valid for checking what you want.  There are also proctored platforms like Blackboards and ProctorU that will also help in preventing the shift on the other tab.

How to make online exams more accurate?

There are various tricks that you can incorporate while taking online exams to increase your validity-

1. Determine the purpose of the test

You must determine the purpose of taking the test. You must know whether the motive is to test practical knowledge or to see the academic grade. Suppose your prior goal was to examine the practical knowledge of the student but you have added questions that are more related to the theory part, then the validity to check the practical skills reduces. 

Are Online Tests valid and Reliable?

2. Giving the consistent environment

You should make sure that all your students must start their exams at the same time and that no one gets extra time to complete their exams. Give them proper instructions to take their exams in a quiet place. This also affects the validity of the online exam. 

3. Set the question paper

Now once you are clear with your goal and have set proper regulations, it’s time for setting up the question paper. Try to add the questions that help to examine the purpose of taking your test. You can try to make 2-3 sets of the exam paper. This also helps in decreasing the chances of the examination. If you are using LMS platforms like Wiley Plus, it will help you to prepare different sets of tests that you can share with your students.

4. Add a lot of questions

When you are taking the online examination make sure to add as many questions as you can. You must remember to make a balance between the number of questions and the duration of the examination. Do not add so many questions that result in making the exam lengthy. If you are taking the tests on google meet, you must make sure that you have added a lot of questions. It is because there are students who may get some of the google meet hacks and thus may think of cheating.

5. Reviewing the question paper

Once you have created the exam paper, you should review it. There are chances that you may have added questions that may be far from your purpose. Review and delete those questions.

Are Online Tests valid and Reliable?

6. Appropriate Tools

You must use procuring platforms so that your students do not try to open any other platform. Ask your students to download the software before taking the examination. This will help to prevent the students from opening anything in the background.  You can also use plagiarism tools like Turnitin which will help you to know if the student has copied the content from a specific source or not.

7. Use the user-friendly interface platforms

While taking the online examination, you must take care of one thing: the platform where you are taking the examination has a user-friendly examination. This is important because if it is difficult to navigate then the students will face difficulties in taking their exams. It will result in the loss of focus of students, which will affect the validity of the examination.

8. Monitoring Students

When you are taking the online exam, you must monitor them as you do in the traditional examination. Some students always try to cheat even when you are examining them face to face. Online examination has given them a bigger chance of cheating which will help in getting valid and accurate results. 

How to monitor the students while taking the online examination?

Are Online Tests valid and Reliable?

As a teacher, you must monitor your students during the online examination. You must know the ways that you must follow to examine the students. Start with installing the procuring tools that aid in preventing your students from cheating. The most commonly used procuring tools are a blackboard and the lockdown browser. The advantages that you get from installing blackboards and lockdown browsers like respondus are –

  • The lockdown browser will lock your screen. This means that you can not navigate to any other website or application in your background.
  • It will monitor the activities of your student, and if there is any suspicious activity found then it will notify you.
  • You can also get the IP address of the students who you think are involved in unethical things.
  • It helps to secure the examination. You can not take any screenshots, or copy or print your examination paper. 
  • It gives a secure environment for your online examination. You will get a key to enter the examination. Until and unless you enter your key, you may not start your exam. Once you enter the key you will enter the examination and will not be able to navigate on any other platform.


Online examination has become a crucial factor in examining your students, especially during the pandemic. But whether they are reliable and valid is still a question for many. Although, the validity is mainly dependent on the reliability of the question paper there are many methods that are used to increase its validity. This article deals with the set of such techniques that helps to increase its validity.

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