the e-Assessment Association

Ofqual Publishes Reports into On-demand Testing

Ofqual Publishes Reports into On-demand Testing

Ofqual has published two reports into the use of on-demand testing in examinations and assessments.On-demand testing can be defined as testing a learner when they are ready rather than at a fixed time, such as happens with driving tests and music examinations. The first report, titled ‘Regulatory Research into On-demand Testing’, gathers together findings from existing studies and new research conducted at recent focus groups held by Ofqual to discuss the topic. The wider issue of e-assessment is also referred to within the report, as it is often closely associated with on-demand testing.

The report includes the following findings and interpretations:

  • On-demand testing has been an area of sustained interest for regulators in their e-assessment research and development for a number of years.
  • There is support for the idea of on-demand testing and for how it could work in practice
  • The support for on-demand testing could be one of the main reasons for further development and up-take of e-assessment.
  • There was support for UK qualifications regulators’ current approach of using general regulatory principles for e-assessment. But it was also observed that e-assessment was a technical matter and that regulators and the regulated also needed to pay attention to the technical issues in order for e-assessment to progress.
  • That Ofqual should produce a technical document about how to maintain standards in an on-demand testing environment.

This final point resulted in the second report, entitled ‘Maintaining standards in on-demand testing using items response theory’. This is a technical paper produced by Ofqual that explores:

  • The implication of on-demand testing for maintaining the comparability of standards over time.
  • Various technical issues associated with the implementation of on-demand testing.
  • A model for on-demand testing involving the use of item response theory for maintaining standards.

The reports were written by Ofqual’s research department and will be used to further discussion and research into this topic.