the e-Assessment Association

Blog post: Why the IoD is keeping ahead – and how they got there

Blog post: Why the IoD is keeping ahead – and how they got there

The benefits of technology to boost efficiency and productivity are well-documented, but in the area of assessment, organisations have been slower than others to embrace the benefits of technology, often relating to concerns about security and integrity of the examination process. Graham Hudson, eAA board member reports.

The Coronavirus outbreak has meant that schools have embraced online lessons, companies have been forced to implement home working and web conferencing has replaced face to face meetings. This new ‘normal’ may change the way we work forever.

In the area of assessment, many exams will not take place this year, including GCSEs and A-levels, the most high-stakes assessments in the country. In the same way that the Coronavirus outbreak may change our ways of working, organisations may now be more willing to consider how technology can be used to deliver a streamlined and more robust assessment processes.
The Institute of Directors (IoD) were one of the earlier adopters of online assessment and remote proctoring for their professional qualifications. Their vision combined with a desire to provide timely, valid and reliable assessments that maintained the Institute’s reputation for quality means that their assessment activity is unaffected and they are able to continue offering exams globally during the current pandemic.

Founded in 1903, and awarded a Royal Charter in 1906, the IoD supports, represents and sets standards for business leaders nationwide. The IoD’s decision to make changes and lead the way in this area following feedback from their members: busy business people who expressed frustration at having to travel to examination centres and take time out of their working day; professionals, who rarely produced anything other than on a laptop; decision makers who could not understand why it took so long to publish results.

Since implementing online assessment over 8,000 examinations have been taken this way, with the use of test centres phased out in 2017. Delivery is by secure, remote proctoring through a system provided by TestReach and all global exams now use remote invigilation. Oversight of the progress and processes is undertaken by the IoD’s Assessment Committee, providing expert advice and guidance.

Sometimes the visionaries of this world have a hard time. In the same way that Harrison took years to develop his Sea Clock and required vision and perseverance to achieve something of global significance, making significant change is not always easy, especially in long-established institutions.

For any organisation making the move to online assessment, the journey is unlikely to be smooth. There will always be snags in any change and introduction of something new. For the IoD, however, they are now reaping the benefits from having the courage to make the changes when they did.

About the Author
Graham Hudson works with professional organisations, government ministries and development programmes both nationally and internationally. His focus is on helping organisations get better outcomes from their examinations and assessments by improving the reliability and validity of assessments. He helps organisations make the change to digital systems and is an expert in supporting them through successful procurement.
Graham is a member of the IoD’s Assessment Committee and the TestReach case study on this project can be read here.
Graham is also a board member of e-Assessment Association and has considerable experience of procurement of e-assessment solutions from both sides of the fence as well as a good working knowledge of the market.

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