Category Archives: Assessment

Everything You Need to Know About Adaptive Testing

What is Adaptive Testing?

Adaptive Testing, also known as Computerized Adaptive Testing or Tailored Testing, is a method of using algorithms and machine learning to make tests more optimal, effective, and efficient. 

Every time a candidate answers a question, the test analyses the response and based on it, decides the difficulty level of the next question. The test, with each response, also determines the number of questions required to assess the mastery level of the candidate. 

At the beginning of the test, a candidate will start with a medium difficulty question. If he/she answers it correctly, the next question will be more difficult, or easier if answered incorrectly. Adaptive tests do not have a fixed number of questions; they end when the termination criterion is met, which means that as soon as the test has determined the ability of the test taker and has marked him/her accordingly, it ends.

Advantages of Adaptive Testing

  • Accurate scoring: Data collected for standard paper-pencil tests over the years shows that they provide the best precision for only medium-ability test takers. Test takers with extreme abilities are the most affected. In contrast, adaptive testing is fairer because the test designer has customized control over score precision for each test taker. Hence, it is said to be more precise from a psychometric point of view.
  • Increased psychometric efficiency: Similar to pedagogy, it is tough to engage and analyse high ability examinees with extremely trivial questions and lower ability examinees with difficult questions. Adaptive testing doesn’t administer such questions, significantly reducing the number of questions required to test a candidate. As a result, the amount of time needed to test each candidate optimally is reduced substantially. The seat time savings cost can be between 50 to 90 per cent. In addition to time being saved, it also increases candidate engagement. A higher ability candidate will not have to waste any time solving easy questions and can concentrate all his mental energy on the questions specially designed for him/her without ever feeling bored.
  • Security: Since each candidate receives a unique set of questions, there is very little chance of cheating. Even in the case of re-examination, candidates are given a different set of questions from the question bank.
  • Cost: Adaptive tests use a technology called Item Response Theory (IRT) for the design process. IRT is a way to analyze responses to questions to improve both accuracy and reliability. While investigating a candidate’s responses, IRT looks at not only the number of correct answers the candidate has answered but also the level of difficulty of those questions. The SAT and GRE both use IRT for their tests.

IRT is used to convert adaptive tests from fixed-length tests to variable lengths. This means tests can be finished in lesser time, with lesser number of questions, and with higher accuracy. Test time can be cut down to as much as half, leading to a substantial decrease in costs.

Although the engagement and uniqueness of questions provided to test takers are high, it isn’t straightforward for them to complete a timed test. If a person with high ability ends up spending too much time on one difficult question, he/she will not be able to keep aside enough time for the next set of questions and will end up handing over an incomplete answer sheet. An untimed adaptive test is also a tough option for high-stakes summative assessments for aptitude jobs.

In conclusion, adaptive testing is beneficial for both students and instructors. Students get a chance to personalize their learning experience, be responsible for setting their own pace and identify their problem areas. As for the instructors, it is easier for them to work in mixed-ability large classrooms, make better instruction plans for students, and make optimum use of the classroom time and resources.

Explore more at: TCS iON

DIMENSiON June 2019 | Assessment

TCS iON Digital Assessment

Candidate’s feedback option on questions are now enabled

Feature: Introducing Question Wise Feedback / Objection

Description: With this release, the candidate can provide the feedback/raise objection against each of the questions in the assessment. The candidate will be provided with the facility to select the concerned option from the drop down for the required set of questions. The candidate can provide this during the assessment in the assessment console.

For example, in an assessment, in Group 1, for question 4, the candidate feels that the question content is not proper and for question 10, it is not related to the syllabus. In such cases, the candidates can provide the feedback/raise objection against the concerned questions by selecting the required option.

Key benefits:

  • Enable the candidates to raise their concern question wise, wherever applicable
  • Overall report about the objection raised by the candidates in the assessment is available for the administrators

Administrators can access a detailed report concerning candidate questions

Features : Restore Candidate Registration Details During Drive Re-Download

Description: IT Manager downloads the drive at a stipulated time for the assessment and the candidate registration including Photo and Biometric happens on the day of the assessment.

There might be a possibility to re-download the drive because of following reasons:

  • Changes in Assessment/ Drive configuration
  • Issues in Assessment Server
  • Other operational issues

During drive download, Operations team has to perform set of critical activities which include redo the overall registration process OR to skip the registration process and carry out the assessment without candidate registration data.

Both Re-do and Skipping of the registration process are tedious for the operations team. To handle these situations effectively, a new capability has been introduced to retain the registration data for multi-exam

This will help operations team to do the registration process as usual and in case of any failure, the same registration data can be obtained and the assessment can be conducted seamlessly.

In Normal scenario when drive is “Restored” both application and registration data will be restored / retained. Below are scenarios resulting in re-download of drive because registration data will be erased resulting in re-registration process to capture candidate biometrics:

  • Conducting the parallel exam with multi exam  or parallel exam permission from ADC (Either on same or different server)
  • Re-downloading drive due to configuration changes (Either on same or different server)

Key benefits: Conduct assessment seamlessly by restoring the candidate data even in case of any system failures

Highlights of the month:

Feature: Introducing Rich Text Editor For Short Answer Type Questions

Description: With this release, the candidates can be enabled to enter their responses for the Short Answer type of questions using the Rich text editor as well. The rich text editor enables the candidates to format their responses like Bold, Italic, text alignment, insertion of special characters, symbols etc.

Enabling the rich text editor in candidate console is the configurable parameter and has to be configured at the question level while creating the questions in CAE.

Rich text configuration is applicable only for the Short Answer type questions where evaluation is not required by the system.

The responses given by the candidates will be evaluated through Marker Hub and will be available in the QP HTML as well for the candidates

Key benefits:

  • Flexibility for candidates to format the text like bold, italic etc.
  • View the rich text response by candidates in QPHTML.
  • Better view for the markers in Marker Hub to evaluate the rich text responses.
  • Feature: Logging Incident For Change In Candidate System

Description: On the day of the assessment, the candidate systems are launched with the launcher using the details of the candidates. The candidates subsequently undergo the process of registration and take the assessment in the mapped system.

There are chances for the candidates to take the assessment from the system other than that of the mapped system. Following might be the reasons:

  • Candidate can change the system by forcefully closing the launcher and can take the assessment from the different system which is the malpractice. In this case, an incident will be raised and the test center will be on hold as the candidate has taken the assessment from the different system.
  • The IT Manager can change the candidate system due to various reasons like the system crash, network issues etc… with the appropriate comments. In this case, the incident will be raised and the on hold policy will not be applied.

Key benefits:

  • Better tractability for the administrator to trace the candidates whose machines are changed for the assessment.
  • Eliminate the chances of malpractices by the candidates by changing the system forcefully.
  • Feature: Usage Of Special Characters In The Subject Names

Description: With this release, following special characters can be used in the subject names. Earlier, they were restricted.

1.      Ampersand (&)

2.      Colon (:)

3.      Hyphen (-)

4.      Comma (,)

Rest of the special characters will not be allowed.

Key benefits:

  • Flexibility for the users to include the special characters as required in the subject names.
  • Following are sample subjects that can be created: E-Commerce, Linear & Digital Circuits etc.
  • Feature: Viewing The Subject In Alphabetical Order

Description: With this release, the list of subjects in all the drop down across the CAE screens and the Excel templates will be shown in the alphabetical order.

Key benefits:

  • Enable the users to search for the required subjects easier and faster.
  • Feature: Enhancements In Question Paper Preview Screen

Description: With this release, following details will be shown in the Question Paper Preview screen:

1.      The Question id of all the questions in the Question Paper. (Applicable for Paper Pencil and OMR type Assessments, Already available for Digital Assessment QPs)

2.      The Template id and name from which the Question Paper is created. (Applicable for Paper Pencil and OMR type Assessments. Will be implemented in upcoming release for Digital Assessment QPs)

Key benefits:

  • Easy identification of questions with the question ids displayed in QP preview screen
  • Identify the template from the which the QP is created.
  • Feature: Edit The Paper Pencil Assessment Qps Same As That Of Digital Assessment Type Qps

Description: With this release, the user can edit the Paper Pencil Assessment type QPs similar to the Digital Assessment type question papers. The user can edit the question contents with the edit option from QP Management screen directly. Earlier, the system was redirecting to the process of QP creation

Key benefits: Edit the question contents of offline QPs directly from the QP Management screen

  • Feature: Renaming The Label “How To Solve”/“Grading Scheme”

Description: In Question Management, in Tab2, the label “How to Solve”/”Grading Scheme” is now renamed as “Hint”. This is applicable across all the question types in both the front end as well as the excel templates.

Key benefits: This Label change is made for the better understanding of the users.

  • Feature: Help On Question Excel Upload

Description: User can now download the help with the details of all the columns in the Question upload Excel. The excel help explains about the details of question type wise mandatory and non-mandatory columns for both the configuration details and the language sheets.

Key benefits: Enable the users to understand in detail about the mandatory and optional fields and the dependent attributes.

  • Feature: Visibility Of Save, Preview And Cancel Button In Question Management Screen

Description: With this release, in Question Management screen, the Save, Preview Question and Cancel button will be visible across all the tabs. This is applicable while creating any type of questions.

Earlier, it is mandatory for the user to navigate to the last tab to save or preview the question. Rest of the functionalities remain as it is.

Key benefits: Flexibility to the user to save the question at any time while working on any of the screens.

  • Feature: Access For The Creator And Reviewer To Tag Question Status


For Question Creator:

In Question Management screen, while creating the question, the creator will now have access to tag the questions as New / Draft/ Complete only.

In addition, the creator can also view the questions that are in “Send Back” status.


Once the question creator creates a question, the question will be saved with the status ‘New’. The creator has to change the status to “Complete” for the view by the reviewer.

In addition, the creator can also tag the questions to “Draft” status in the interim, which is optional.

If the reviewer has sent back the question, then the creator can view the questions with the status “Send Back”. Creator can now make the necessary changes and change the status of the questions to “Complete”. Creator can also tag the questions to “Draft” if required.

For Question Reviewer:

In Question Management screen, while reviewing the question, the reviewer can view the questions that are with the status “Complete” only. The reviewer can change the status of the question to any of the following:

Review, Send back, seal, unseal, retire, reject.

Only the questions that are tagged as “Send Back” will be sent to creator to make the changes. Rest of the all the status will be available only for the reviewer. The status “Review” can be used optionally by the reviewer which is similar to the status “Draft” for the creator.

Key benefits:

•  Privileged access to the users to ensure that the questions are not tagged to the unintended status.

•  Easy view of questions by the creator and reviewer to work upon.

  • Feature: Enhancements In Media Search

Description: Following are the two search fields introduced in the Media Management screen to enhance the media search.

  • Description Name
  • Select Users

The media can be searched with the description name to which it is tagged. The search can also be done by entering the description name partially.

In addition, the user can also search the media that are uploaded by the other users. The access to search the media uploaded by the other users is restricted only to the users who are tagged as the Subject Administrators. By default, the media uploaded by the current logged in user will be searched. The user can select the user as required and can do the search.

Key benefits:

  • Enable the Subject Administrators to search the media uploaded by other users.
  • Partial search of media using the description makes the process of search faster.
  • Feature: Miscellaneous Enhancements


Restriction to delete the QP Bundle:

With this release, the user cannot delete the Question Paper Bundle, once the bundle is downloaded.

Restriction to delete the Media:

The user cannot update/overwrite the media, once the media is used in a sealed Question Paper

Key benefits: Enhanced security to avoid unwanted deletion

Yoyogi Seminar selects TCS iON PAPER to transform Spoken English Tests in Japan

The University Admission Common Test, which will replace the current National Center Test in 2021, is expected to include spoken English

TCS iON Paper to Conduct spoken english tests in Japan

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) announced that Sapix Yozemi Group (Yoyogi Seminar), a Japanese cram school chain, has selected TCS iON PAPER to transform the conduct of its spoken English tests and evaluation of candidate responses.

Spoken English tests are increasingly becoming part of entrance exams for many universities and high schools in Japan. The University Admission Common Test, which will replace the current National Center Test in 2021, is expected to include spoken English.

To prepare students ahead of time, Yoyogi Seminar has included speaking assessments in all its future tests.

The TCS iON PAPER device will equip the preparatory school operator with the capabilities necessary to conduct these tests, including the test environment, test data delivery, and scoring environment. In addition, it will enable location-independent assessment with the help of experienced English teachers based in India. TCS will on-board qualified and certified English teachers, who will be rigorously trained on evaluating the audio responses, in a proctored environment.

TCS iON PAPER can securely distribute question papers as well as capture students’ audio responses without the need for internet connections in classrooms. This will enable Yoyogi Seminar to conduct country-wide English language tests at centers that do not have access to the internet. The scoring of the audio responses will be powered by TCS iON Digital Marking platform to deliver test results at speed.

Toshiro Takamiya, Co-chairman, Sapix Yozemi Group, said, “We have been making efforts to support our students to acquire four key capabilities – listening, speaking, reading, and writing – in English proficiency as is required in this globalized society. By employing TCS’ services, we hope that we will be able to introduce better services to our students nationwide.”

Venguswamy Ramaswamy, Global Head, TCS iON, said, “TCS iON is focused on continuous innovations and the integration of digital technology to drive transfomational change in all aspects of the education ecosystem. We are very happy that Yoyogi Seminar has been an early adopter of TCS iON PAPER along with our path breaking location-independent marking platform – TCS iON Digital Marking. This will drive exponential value to the domain of education across stakeholders.”

“We are very honored to partner with Yoyogi Seminar, a leading Japnaese college preparatory school that has been devoted to enhancing educational services for test takers for over half a century. TCS, leveraging its global expertise on digital to the fullest, strives to be the partner of choice for education customers in their digital transformation journeys at a time of major industry-wide change, and contribute to the enhancement of educational services in the country,” said Masayuki Nakayama, Senior Vice President, TCS Japan.

TCS iON’s Education platforms have been adopted by institutions worldwide, to benefit from the enhanced security, scale, reduced logistical costs, and shorter processing time. The TCS iON PAPER device was launched in 2018 to introduce digital technology in place of traditional paper-based tests.

For more information visit us at

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Learn Best Methods for your Exam Preparations

Learn best methods for your exam preparation

Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. This holds true in all aspects of life, particularly with competitive exams in India. If you are an engineering or medical aspirant preparing for an entrance exam, you know exactly what it takes.

You work hard, make many sacrifices, burn the mid night oil, and continuously step-up your game each day – to get those few extra marks that can make all the difference. Well, there is good news. We are here to spill a little-known secret. Beyond the obvious dos, don’ts, and recommendations, we bring to you a few simple tips and tools that can provide you the extra edge.

  • The Ivan Pavlov Way

This is one of the most popular techniques around the world. Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov’s conditioning experiment proves that we can master any task by repeating it consistently. Some factors that have to remain constant are time, place, and subject.

So, train yourself to read the same text, in the same place, at the same time every day, and you will notice that your brain absorbs information much faster and organically.

  • Match School and Home Schedules

This is one of the most effective methods out there. Align your home-study schedule to coincide with your classes. Studying a topic taught by the trainer, immediately after returning from class, gives you the advantage of higher retention.

Do this. Just before a test, instead of reading long-form text, look for visuals like graphs, diagrams, or charts – these tend to leave a mental impression and are easier to recall.

Another important thing to do is never set a time table with similar subjects one after the other. Variety ensures longer attentions spans.

  • Short and Effective Study Sessions

There are distractions all around. The mind can seldom remain steady. Instead of fighting the urge, give-in at times. Go for a combination of small study sessions peppered with breaks. You will be able to cover a lot more. This is because the brain thrives well under adequate pressure.

It is also believed that when we take small breaks between sessions, the brain absorbs information without much effort. Hence, try spending not more than 20-25 minutes when cramming chronological events, formulas, equations, names, events, etc.

  • Avoid Studying when Sleep Strikes

When the mind relaxes, the body rejuvenates. A tired body and brain aren’t conducive to intensive study. This varies from person to person. Some students find it easier to start early, while others find late nights less distracting and more productive. Whatever suits you, choose a time and stick to it.

When you find yourself getting drowsy, move around, drink some water, or better still take a power nap. ‘Inemuri’ or ‘sleeping while being present’ is the Japanese term for catching up on sleep while in public places. Experts suggest that such power naps can result in higher productivity.

  • Smart Working Practices

More than the amount of time you spend in front of your books, evaluate the quality of the hours spent studying. ‘Focus’ is the key to getting more work done. Choose a time to study when there are minimal distractions. Consider going to a library or a study hall. It is advisable to start the day with challenging subjects when you are most alert. Keep the easier ones for the end of your study session.

  • Practice Tests from Previous Years

Practice tests tell you where you stand. While most students know this, they rarely come around to doing it. Mostly because they do not have a ready and systematic access to the question paper sets from the previous years.

If you are an engineering or medical aspirant, try to get access to a comprehensive set of practice exams. Such tests help develop familiarity with competitive exam patterns. Attempt such tests in a proctored environment. Set a timer and take the process seriously.

Avoid getting distracted and keep all your devices away from you. This way you will be able to time yourself and understand the areas you need to concentrate on. When you have taken enough tests, you will be able to identify commonly made mistakes, know your strengths, and list down areas of improvement.

  • Leverage the Power of Data to Gain Analytics and Insights

We live in the age of data. Today, there are enough and more analytical tools that can process your test performances to give you deep insights and recommendations that can help you perform up to your true potential.

Data analytics help in identifying one’s strengths and areas for improvement. In fact, platforms like as TCS iON’s Prep4Exam act as virtual advisors for students appearing for competitive engineering or medical exams. Students of Grade 11 and Grade 12 from Mathematics and Science streams can leverage this platform to get deep rooted insights about their performance – subject-wise, concept-wise, and difficulty-wise. They can also get detailed error analysis for incorrect questions, and answer keys along with explanations of the concept.

Getting ahead in competitive exams requires more than the traditional dose of hard work and perseverance. With just a few marks differentiating the winners, getting methodical with your exam preparation is indeed the need of the hour!

DIMENSiON January 2019 | Assessment

TCS iON Digital Assessment

Conduct effortless exams with secure answer key template

Description: With this release, you can download filled answer key-Template in CAE. The downloadable answer key template will have all the correct options pre-populated in it. You can download the answer key template, as an igx file from both CAE Central and Local instance. Additionally, Answer key upload option will be available in ADC to upload the Excel template or the .igx file downloaded from CAE.

You must provide correct answers during Question creation to use this answer key template for result processing. The downloaded answer key template will then have correct options pre-populated in it. This template is a .igx file for enhanced security and is not readable. You can download and share the .igx answer key template for result processing. This is applicable for both CAE LI and CI.

Enables scenarios where the authors provide the actual answer keys during QP creation process but do not share the answer keys to the delivery engine.

Key benefits: Enhances security of Answer keys as the downloaded answer key template is not readable.

Bundle mapping is now flexible

Description: With this release, a new parameter Bundle Mapping Required is introduced in Configuration Details screen. You can select this parameter as

  • Yes to mandate bundle mapping in ADC for an assessment
  • No to configure the assessment without bundle mapping. When the parameter is configured as No, the customer can share the Bundle igx file before the assessment start time. Then, the IT managers can upload the bundle igx in AEC console to proceed with the assessment.

If the parameter is set as ‘No’, the bundle password can be shared by the bundle managers from CAE without the bundle mapping in Assessment Data Centre. The password can also be populated from the IT Manager console. The timeline to provide the password will be based on the first shift of the assessment.

Key benefits: Flexibility to mandate or bypass bundle mapping in ADC.

Auto-save button saves time and efforts of the candidate

Description: The Save and Save and Next buttons are displayed in Candidate console, though the autosave is enabled. With this release, the Save button will be disabled if the Auto Save on Candidate Console is set as Yes in CAE.

This will be applicable only for a group having a single section with Group All questions as Yes

Key benefits: Saves time and effort of a candidate during an exam.

Are schools producing the Nation Builders of Tomorrow?

equp students to face real worl challenges with 21st Century Skills

How critical is the need for 21st Century Skills in the school curriculum to equip students for real-world challenges? 

Transforming Education for the Rapidly-Changing Digital World

The digitally advanced world has rendered over 94 per cent of the engineering students unfit for hiring. Only about 5 per cent of the country’s workforce is said to have had formal skill training, while around 31 million people are unemployed. It is thus evident that there is a widening gap between the course structure in the school and the life skills needed for the real world.

With the education system, still focused on exam survival, and plagued with disconnected facts and teaching disparate, there is little or no scope for developing non-academic competencies required for the 21st Century. Problem-based learning which presents students with the opportunity to collaborate and solve authentic problems is missing.It is almost shocking how few young, educated individuals know how to do the basic tasks of filling examination forms, applying for educational loan facilities, handling banking processes, writing official letters, or simply facing interviews.

As learning on the job is now an obsolete concept, applicants need to have an in-depth understanding of the role they are applying for.Institutions, therefore, need to adopt an evolved approach to prepare students for facing multifaceted challenging environments.

Skills and Knowledge Go Hand in Hand

The intensively competitive and evolved work space requires students to be able to match the new expectations. Re-designing the school curriculum and the classroom strategies is thus crucial to prepare them for the needs of the modern world at an early age. These modifications include the introduction of 21st Century skills such as Super Skills of Creativity and Innovation,Critical Thinking and Reasoning, Communication Skills, Collaboration and Compassion, Financial Literacy, Reading Skills, Ethics, Values &Life Skills, and Health, Hygiene and Fitness, into the program of study. 

These skills would present students with the opportunity to enhance their academic learning in a more systematic and informed manner so that they are ready to tackle societal challenges in relevant social issues. Also, they would prevent them from having any unrealistic expectations and aid them in exploring meaningful job opportunities.

How Do We Ensure That Our Children Are Future Ready?

Not much can be achieved if the dedication in altering the curriculum is not supported with a similarly evolved assessment procedure to test students on their subject depth. Multiple rounds of evaluations spread over the school, city and national level, employing OMR based and computer-based tests can help in preparing students better for the challenges of tomorrow. The contest with these timed tests would focus on 21st Century skills and in developing early entrepreneurship. They would encourage children to showcase their super skills in solving complex problems and measure their thinking ability against their peers.

These tests can be divided into the junior section, for students of grade 6 to grade 8, and the senior section, for students of grades 9 and 10, for all the State, Central, and International 

School Board students. The results can be published online along with downloadable digital participation certificates. By testing each student on the grade level content, these contests would help develop an understanding and appreciation for creativity, innovation and socially significant topics for the 21st Century.

While schools focus on the academic subjects, similar importance needs to be given to these skills and topics that enrich academic learning. Only a balanced approach between the two can assist students in qualifying as the Nation Builders of Tomorrow.

We look forward to your comments and encourage you to contact us if you would like to discuss more.

To know about TCS iON Life Long Learning Initiative for students, visit us at .

Best Regards,

Renuka Vadhyar

Product Head


DIMENSiON September 2018|Assessment

Dimension Blog image

TCS iON Digital Assessment

Know the time remaining for the login with timer alert

Feature: Enhancements in Candidate Console

Description: Following are the enhancements to the Candidate Console in addition to the existing capabilities.

  • Remaining Login Time Alert: A timer will be displayed on the login page to inform the candidates about the time remaining to login.
  • Registration Photo of Candidate: The candidate photograph taken during registration will also be displayed in the login screen of the candidate console, in addition to the photograph in the application.

Key benefits:

  • Displays remaining login time on Candidate Console.
  • Displays candidate registration photograph on Candidate Console.


Viewing the test cases for assessments is now simpler

Feature: Option to include Test Cases in Assessment Reports in Case of Programming Test

Description: Currently, the test cases used to evaluate the program written by the candidate is not included in the assessment reports that are generated after result processing. Starting this release, an option is introduced while generating the report to include or exclude the test cases in the report.

Key benefits:

  • The ability for the user to include/exclude the test cases in the report based on the requirement.
  • The user can view the test cases used for this assessment that will help them to check if the evaluation done based on the test cases is actually correct.