the e-Assessment Association

Recent Conference Round-Up

Recent Conference Round-Up

The late summer/early autumn in the UKย  is always a busy time for conferences, providing an opportunity to reflect on what happened during the first half of the year and to explore and look forward to the innovations promised for the coming year.

๐™‰๐™–๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™–๐™ก ๐˜ผ๐™ฅ๐™ฅ๐™ง๐™š๐™ฃ๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™˜๐™š๐™จ๐™๐™ž๐™ฅ๐™จโ€™ ๐™‰๐™ค๐™ฌ ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™๐™ช๐™ฉ๐™ช๐™ง๐™š ๐˜พ๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™›๐™š๐™ง๐™š๐™ฃ๐™˜๐™š – ๐˜ผ๐™ช๐™œ๐™ช๐™จ๐™ฉ, ๐˜ฝ๐™ž๐™ง๐™ข๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ๐™๐™–๐™ข

This event caters primarily for employers, training providers and end-point assessment organisations (EPAOs) working within the apprenticeship sector in England, and was well attended.

Several key issues were highlighted:

– ๐—ฅ๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐—ฟ๐˜‚๐—ถ๐˜๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐˜„ ๐—ฎ๐—ฝ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—บ๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜€ ๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—น๐—น๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ด๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด โ€“ the 3m new apprenticeship starts by 2020 target set by government in 2015 has proved woefully over optimistic, with just 325k (12.3%) actual starts since 2020;

– ๐—”๐—ฝ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป โ€“ nearly 50% of learners fail to complete their apprenticeships for a variety of reasons, including lack of familiarity and support in how to use online learning and assessment platforms;

– ๐—”๐—ฝ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ฝ๐˜€ ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜‚๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ป ๐—ฎ๐˜€ ๐—ฎ ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฑ-๐—ฐ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜€๐˜€ ๐—ผ๐—ฝ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ผ ๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ถ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐—ถ๐˜๐˜† ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐˜€ โ€“ despite the so called โ€˜Baker Clauseโ€™ being introduced in 2018 making it mandatory for schools to facilitate a better understanding of the options to all Year 8-13 students.

– ๐—” ๐—บ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—ท๐—ผ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐˜‚๐—ฝ ๐—ฎ๐—ฝ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ต ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—ฎ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜ ๐—ฒ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ฒ ๐—ด๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ด๐—ต๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜ ๐—ฎ๐—ป ๐—ฎ๐—ฝ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ฝ ๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ, to take pressure off the learner and to support accurate tracking of learner progression.

– ๐—•๐—ฒ๐˜๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—บ๐—บ๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—น๐—น๐—ฎ๐—ฏ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐˜๐˜„๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ป ๐—ฒ๐—บ๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ผ๐˜†๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€, ๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—˜๐—ฃ๐—”๐—ข๐˜€, moving away from the current linear model and putting the apprentice at the core.

๐™š-๐˜ผ๐™๐™‹ ๐˜พ๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™›๐™š๐™ง๐™š๐™ฃ๐™˜๐™š – ๐™Š๐™˜๐™ฉ๐™ค๐™—๐™š๐™ง, ๐™‡๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™™๐™ค๐™ฃ

This three-day conference, which is run by the European branch of the Association of Test Publishers, has a full and interesting programme and is always well attended.

The first day included a dedicated ๐—ฆ๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜๐˜† ๐—ฆ๐˜‚๐—บ๐—บ๐—ถ๐˜, which focused on the latest news and developments related to assessment security and malpractice detection. ๐——๐—ฟ. ๐—ง๐—ต๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ฎ๐˜€ ๐—Ÿ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ย delivered a fascinating keynote that looked at how the ๐—ฎ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜ ๐—บ๐—ฎ๐—น๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ landscape has changed in the last 20 years. A journey that has taken us from a preoccupation with preventing ๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ฎ๐—ด๐—ถ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜€๐—บ in 2003, something that technology now rigorously detects, through the rise of ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐˜ ๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด in 2006 (where someone else is paid to take the test for you) to the present day where we are most focused on preventing the ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—พ๐˜‚๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—บ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ฎ๐—น๐˜€ for republication online. He argued that whilst ๐—”๐—ฟ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ณ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—œ๐—ป๐˜๐—ฒ๐—น๐—น๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ฒ (๐—”๐—œ) has a lot to offer in detecting malpractice, the people behind cheating also use AI to develop more and more sophisticated ways to cheat!

Whilst ๐—œ๐—ป๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ถ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป/๐—ฃ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ฐ๐˜๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด (be this in person or remotely delivered online) is an effective way of reducing malpractice, ๐—ฃ๐—ฎ๐˜‚๐—น ๐— ๐˜‚๐—ถ๐—ฟ , Head of Technology Enabled Assessment for ๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—•๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ถ๐˜€๐—ต ๐—–๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐—น and the eAAโ€™s Vice Chair, reminded us all that the main purpose of invigilation/proctoring is to ensure candidates have a fair and consistent assessment experience โ€“ reducing cheating is just a very desirable bonus.

We were also reminded by ๐—ฃ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—ฉ๐—จ๐—˜โ€™๐˜€ Director of Special Investigations ๐—›๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฟ๐˜† ๐—ฆ๐—ฎ๐—บ๐—ถ๐˜ that candidate cheating is not something new and that delivering assessments through a secure online assessment platform can reduce candidate malpractice significantly โ€“ he stated that typically less than 12% of candidate using their online platform try to cheat, verses 50% in physical test centres.

The ๐—ธ๐—ฒ๐˜† ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ธ๐—ฒ-๐—ฎ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐˜† from all of this for me was that we need to focus on ways of decreasing the demand for cheating rather than just relying on technology to detect it when it happens. We need to ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ๐˜‚๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ฒ ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ฑ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐—ฎ๐—ฏ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜ ๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด and ensure they understand the consequences if they are caught.

The eAA was also given the opportunity to showcase three winners from this yearโ€™s ๐—œ๐—ป๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—ฒ๐—”๐˜€๐˜€๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜ ๐—”๐˜„๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฑ๐˜€ โ€“ for an overview of all of this yearโ€™s finalists and winners, please visit the awards website here.

๐™๐™š๐™™๐™š๐™ง๐™–๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ค๐™ฃ ๐™ค๐™› ๐˜ผ๐™ฌ๐™–๐™ง๐™™๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐˜ฝ๐™ค๐™™๐™ž๐™š๐™จ (๐™๐˜ผ๐˜ฝ) ๐˜พ๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™›๐™š๐™ง๐™š๐™ฃ๐™˜๐™š – ๐™Š๐™˜๐™ฉ๐™ค๐™—๐™š๐™ง, ๐™‡๐™š๐™ž๐™˜๐™š๐™จ๐™ฉ๐™š๐™ง

This yearโ€™s conference theme was ๐——๐—ฒ๐—น๐—ถ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ข๐—ฝ๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ถ๐˜๐˜† ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐—”๐—น๐—น ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ด๐—ต ๐—˜๐—พ๐˜‚๐—ถ๐˜๐˜†, ๐——๐—ถ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐—ถ๐˜๐˜† ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—œ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—น๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป.

The opening address, given by ๐—ž๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐˜๐—ถ๐—ฒ ๐——๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—น๐—น๐˜† , CEO of ๐—–๐—ถ๐˜๐˜† & ๐—š๐˜‚๐—ถ๐—น๐—ฑ๐˜€ and Co-Chair of FAB, highlighted some key facts about the very diverse FE and Vocational/Technical learning and assessment sector: a sector that in 2020/21 saw 1.5 million learners and 600,000 VTQ certificates issued. Through a conversation with EDI advocate ๐—™๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ธ ๐——๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ด๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜€ they also highlighted the difference between ๐—˜๐—พ๐˜‚๐—ถ๐˜๐˜† ๐˜ƒ๐˜€ ๐—˜๐—พ๐˜‚๐—ฎ๐—น๐—ถ๐˜๐˜† โ€“ something I hope that the image that accompanies this article helps to articulate โ€“ and stressed the importance of ensuring ๐—ฒ๐—พ๐˜‚๐—ถ๐˜๐˜† in learning and assessment to deliver true inclusion.

There were lots of very interesting sessions throughout the conference, but one that stood out was from ๐—˜๐˜€๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ข’๐—–๐—ฎ๐—น๐—น๐—ฎ๐—ด๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ป founder of ๐—ต๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ผ.๐˜…๐˜†๐˜‡ who introduced us to the ๐—Ÿ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐— ๐—ฒ๐˜๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐—ฒ โ€“ an immersive, virtual learning environment. I was also really interested to hear about Hundoโ€™s development of a ๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—น ๐˜€๐—ธ๐—ถ๐—น๐—น๐˜€ ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐—น๐—น๐—ฒ๐˜, which is secured against the ๐—•๐—น๐—ผ๐—ฐ๐—ธ๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—ป, which has to be the future of certification especially with micro-credentials becoming ever more popular.

๐™Š๐™›๐™ฆ๐™ช๐™–๐™ก’๐™จ ๐˜ผ๐™ก๐™ก ๐™Ž๐™ฉ๐™–๐™›๐™› ๐˜พ๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™›๐™š๐™ง๐™š๐™ฃ๐™˜๐™š – ๐™‰๐™ค๐™ซ๐™š๐™ข๐™—๐™š๐™ง, ๐˜พ๐™ค๐™ซ๐™š๐™ฃ๐™ฉ๐™ง๐™ฎ

The eAA was invited to deliver a session on the increasing use of ๐—ข๐—ป๐—น๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฒ ๐—ฃ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ฐ๐˜๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด by exam awarding and professional bodies, both here in the UK and internationally. Fellow eAA Board member ๐—ฃ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ธ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ฒ๐˜€ and ๐—”๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜„ ๐—–๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜†๐—ฑ๐—ผ๐—ป , Director of Examinations, Education and Skills Policy for the ๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—”๐˜€๐˜€๐—ผ๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—•๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ถ๐˜€๐—ต ๐—ฃ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—บ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ๐˜‚๐˜๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—œ๐—ป๐—ฑ๐˜‚๐˜€๐˜๐—ฟ๐˜† (๐—”๐—•๐—ฃ๐—œ) joined me to give this very positively received presentation to over 70 of Ofqualโ€™s staff. My sincere thanks not only to Patrick and Andrew, but also to eAA sponsors ๐—˜๐˜…๐—ฎ๐—บ๐—ถ๐˜๐˜† and ๐—ค๐˜‚๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—บ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ธ for introducing me to Andrew and the ABPI.

Looking ahead, there are a number of conferences and events on the horizon, but one that Iโ€™d like to call out is the eAAโ€™s own ๐—˜๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—ฌ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ ๐—ช๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฝ virtual event on Wednesday 7th December at 2pm (GMT) where leading educationalist ๐—ฃ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ณ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐—š๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—š๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐˜‚๐˜€ ๐—ข๐—•๐—˜ will be looking at how we measure the learning impact of educational technologies โ€“ from ๐—”๐—œ ๐—ฎ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ถ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—น๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ฎ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜ ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ป๐—ผ๐—น๐—ผ๐—ด๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐˜€ to use of the ๐—น๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐˜๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐—ฒ โ€“ full details can be found in this newsletter.

Full details of all upcoming events can be found on the eAAโ€™s event calendar.