Use of a digital printing system for improving the quality of examinations at Universitas Terbuka

Irma Adnan, Teguh Prakoso, Amalia Sapriati and Aminudin Zuhairi
Universitas Terbuka


This paper addresses the experience of preparing semester examination papers using a digital printing system at Universitas Terbuka (UT) in Indonesia. The use of digital printing started in the first semester of 2011 to serve over 500,000 distance students. Administering examinations at UT faces several challenges, namely (1) the number of students and examination locations; (2) the number and variety of courses; (3) the requirement for security in the production of examination papers; and (4) student errors in completing their personal data on the answer sheets. The production process for examination papers using the digital printing system is done mechanically to ensure security and accuracy in order to improve the quality of the whole process.

The advantages of using the digital printing system for examination papers can be outlined as follows. First, it provides a pre-printed individual identity for examination papers and answer sheets for each student to avoid mistakes in filling out student data on the answer sheets. Second, it improves the security of examination administration by applying micro-text in examination papers so that they cannot be reproduced illegally. Third, it ensures the accuracy of student personal data by applying a barcode system for examination papers and answer sheets. This makes certain that the student identity data are pre-printed on the answer sheets and synchronized with the data on the student record system. Accurate data on the answer sheets accelerates the scanning process of the examination results. Fourth, the system also provides detailed information about examinations, such as the schedule for each course; the rooms in which students take their examinations; and the characteristics of the examinations for each course (e.g. multiple-choice, essay-type questions, open or closed book examinations). The digital printing system helps UT in administering semester examination and gives students more time to focus and work on the examination. Furthermore, this system improves productivity and efficiency, especially in the printing of the examination papers and the processing of results.