Equitability factors impacting attitudes relating to digital assessment



Digital Assessment, Equity, Gender, International


Over the past several years there has been a strong shift away from paper-based tertiary assessment and towards electronic assessment. While this process has been accelerated significantly by the COVID-19 pandemic, this shift was occurring well before then. Pedagogically, digital assessment offers many advantages over traditional paper-based assessment such as the possibility of remote delivery, easily implemented universal design to improve accessibility, and allowing more authentic assessment by incorporating the software already used on a day-to-day basis by students and professionals in the field (JISC, 2020).

However, as with all significant changes, this raises the question of whether the shift to online assessment affects everyone equally, or if certain groups could be advantaged or disadvantaged by this change. This study surveyed students over a period of 4 years to ascertain how particular demographics feel about digital assessment, especially focusing on their confidence and comfort in taking assessments electronically compared to paper-based assessment, their use of computers and pen and paper for other tasks, as well as their feelings towards online assessments. The demographic groups used in this study were international versus domestic students, and gender identity. Here we present findings from this long-term study.


JISC. (2020) The future of assessment: five principles, five targets for 2025, Retrieved from https://repository.jisc.ac.uk/7733/1/the-future-of-assessment-report.pdf

Author Biographies

Jeffrey J. Black, The University of New South Wales

School of Chemistry

Siobhán S. Wills, The University of New South Wales

School of Chemistry