the e-Assessment Association

5 tips for a successful transition to digital assessment

5 tips for a successful transition to digital assessment

In this blog post Anja Sisarica from Inspera offers advice on how to digitally transform your institution and to provide services that are fit for the future.

EdTech plays an important part in propelling innovation and growth in society. Digital assessment can strengthen the unique position educational institutions hold by providing a secure, scalable, and reliable platform for applying knowledge and assessing students’ abilities. If you are ready to digitally transform your institution and to provide services that are fit for the future, we hereby offer you 5 tips to get you started with e-assessment.   

  1. Do proper market research 

The most important thing about market research is, basically, to carry it out. At an early stage, you can browse online channels – the most obvious ones being Google and YouTube. Visit different vendors’ websites, subscribe to demos and webinars, and compare functionality, design, and cases, before you start sketching your requirements. 

Identify institutions and municipalities in your country or region who have already implemented digital assessment. Reach out to institutions similar to your own and ask them about their experiences. Engage in local or national IT networks and join the discussion.

You can browse through Inspera’s customer stories for inspiration. Once you have some names on your list, make sure to contact them and ask them how they have handled the transition to online assessment.  

  1. Consider running a pilot project

We recommend that institutions pilot online assessment before beginning a full rollout. A pilot project helps to trial the different processes in a controlled environment. The lessons from these early-stage pilots can direct the strategy of a wider adoption of digital examinations.

For most pilots, the main objective should be to test the organisations’ ability to transfer to digital assessment processes. Piloting is really less about technology and more about people and change. To test the benefits and readiness of the organisation to adapt to digitalisation of exams processes should, therefore, be essential to the pilot project.

  1. Identify why you are switching to online assessment

The benefits of switching from pen and paper to digital assessment are numerous. However, it is important to identify which factors will be of the greatest benefit to your institution and departments. Identifying your motivation and the rewards that the transition will achieve is integral in both aligning the implementation strategy and gaining support from other stakeholders within the organisation. 

At the beginning of the project, it is of great value to conduct interviews with members of the project team and other stakeholders to gain an understanding of the current exam process. Who does what, when, and for how long? What are the hand-off points? Invite your key interest groups to provide feedback and to help identify both functional and non-functional requirements. You could start off by asking the question: “What should a digital exam do to improve the exam experience for each stakeholder group?”

  1. Investigate if a framework agreement exists 

When you have completed a successful pilot and your organisation have decided to fully implement a digital examination solution, you undoubtedly face a journey through the land of procurement. A tendering process can be complicated and could cut into your resources. Framework agreements save you the time and cost of a sourcing process as they abolish the need to renegotiate standard terms and conditions.

If a framework agreement exists, you should enter into a discussion with the framework holders. Call offs can be awarded any time up to the end of the framework agreement. Once the work has started the call off can continue beyond the period of the agreement until the work is done. There are several benefits connected with the use of framework agreements, the most important ones being: 

  • Predictability: The terms of engagement are already agreed
  • Speed: No need to undertake a costly and time-consuming full procurement process
  • Flexibility: Retain the benefits offered under the collaborative agreement while refining your requirements further 
  • Cost-saving: The contractual infrastructure of framework agreements almost invariably drives down costs
  1. Make sure that the project is anchored within the management

Like any other change management process, it is essential that your digital assessment project is anchored within the management of your organisation. It is equally important to involve all stakeholders from all relevant organisational units.

In some cases, a digital examinations project is conducted directly by management as a strategic project. If that is the case, the project manager needs only to report diligently to the management throughout the project to ensure consistent anchoring.

In other cases, the project is driven by early adopters in the organisation such as teachers, exam administrative units, or learning technologists. In these cases, the project manager will need to ensure anchoring and buy-in from management to ensure the success of the change. General awareness and project communication activities are some of the tools you can use to help the management accept and support the project.

Download the eBook to learn more 

Are you ready to transform your assessment practice? Learn more about why and how to move your exams online in the eBook ‘The Complete Roadmap to Online Assessment’. Download the tool-oriented guide for free here