Comparability in assessment

It was a week for assessment events - the e-Assessment Association Glasgow seminar, and a joint Assessment meets Enterprise meets Portfolio CETIS meeting. While the eAA is perhaps more focused on schools and colleges, and CETIS relates more strongly to HE, there was still some interesting links between the two events.

Helen Ashton and Cliff Beevers gave a presentation at the eAA that covered some of the history, current status and future of e-Assessment. This wasn't just the technology though, Helen talked us through the pros and cons, referring to the three stages of generational change proposed by Randy Bennett in his forecast on the future of large-scale educational assessment, published in 1998. Even ten years on, we are some way off Bennett's "Generation 'R' Tests (Reinvention)". Yes, assessment is being "administered at a distance" and it does "use complex simulations, including virtual reality". But, can we really say that assessment is "integrated with instruction (teaching)" and "designed according to cognitive principles"?

Helen went on to talk us through how paper-based assessment questions had been converted for delivery online. There were quite a few examples from maths (she is a mathematician afterall!) but it all served to demonstrate that we need to remember to look at comparability, and Helen gave an overview of various comparison studies. Cliff and Helen's presentation is available as a pdf.

The first presentation at the CETIS event concerned forthcoming calls for studies from JISC. One of these was described as a mixed methods study regarding the 'Quality of e-Assessment'. It was suggested that it is intended to address some of the "deep-rooted concerns" regarding quality amongst those sceptical of e-Assessment. It sounds as those members of the eAA are already working in this area.

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