E-assessment is a valuable tool in Higher Education for many reasons. It has huge potential benefits for students in terms of learning and retention of material as well as increasing their engagement with their chosen topic. E-assessment offers many advantages over traditional pen and paper exams.

When e-assessment is at its best students receive instant and individual feedback on their work allowing them to form an accurate picture of their progress through the relevant module and to build their confidence. It was highlighted in the Provisional Digital Roadmap that

“students often say they don’t get enough feedback on their performance, and that when they do receive feedback, it is often inadequate, difficult to interpret, or too late”.


The use of e-assessment makes it much more realistic for students to get this timely and appropriate feedback given the workload already experienced by teaching staff in an Irish context. The feedback given can also be further enhanced by technology as it may contain links to interactive material, further reading, videos etc. so that students can be directed to engage in self-directed learning tailored for their particular difficulties.


E- assessment can

  • supply immediate and focused feedback on students’ work
  • allow students more than one attempt at an answer
  • present questions in a predetermined or random order
  • be used for diagnostic, formative or summative assessment
  • guide students to further reading or resources if they are having difficulty
  • increase students’ digital literacy
  • increase student engagement
  • record highly detailed student learning analytics and present them to the lecturer in real time
  • manage lecturer workload and corrections

Best practice and recommendations in Ireland are clearly aligned with the direction of increasing the use of innovative approaches to teaching, learning and assessment. The Hunt Report recognises that due to the changing society and demographics, traditional large group teaching will increasingly be complemented by e-learning.

The Digital Roadmap outlines “the imperative to embrace technological innovation in higher education and learning in meeting the challenges of a modernized and expanded Higher Education.”

The Digital Roadmap also highlights the need to maximize the potential of data analytics to inform teaching and learning in Higher Education. The use of e-assessment makes this task manageable as most systems would automatically track many learning analytics as students use the system. E-assessment can also be used to great effect to develop greater opportunities for part-time, flexible learning, including lifelong learning.