Newsletter December 2019
Welcome to the December issue of the eAA Newsletter.
2019 has been a very busy and successful year for the association with lots of activity around furthering our goal of boosting awareness of the benefits that can be offered by using technology-enabled assessment.
This has included further work to our websites, proactively reaching out to new members at a range of events and conferences across the year, an increasing readership of our four membership newsletters and successfully delivering a third annual eAssessment Awards ceremony, with an ever increasing number of high quality entries from around the world.
You can watch the highlights from the 2019 Awards Gala Dinner here.
Most significantly for the future, 2019 saw the eAA sign an agreement with the organisers of the eAssessment Question Conference, Jeff Ross and Martyn Roads, to take over the running and development of this annual conference. The conference programme for 22nd & 23rd April 2020 is shaping up very well and we are all very excited to welcome as many of you as possible to this premier event in the calendar. If you are interested in speaking about your e-assessment projects at our 2021 event, then please respond to our Call for Presentations, open from 1st June.
I was invited to attend a number of interesting and rewarding events through the year, but the highlights for me were ALT-C, the annual conference of the Association of Learning Technologists in Edinburgh in September, and then the Surpass Conference in Newcastle in October. What made these two events stand out for me was the palpable sense of community at both conferences – like-minded individuals with shared goals coming together to share best practice and support each other in their goal of advancing the use of educational technology.
This sense of community resonated so strongly for me as surely this is what the eAA is all about as well – a community of best practice within the assessment sector with a shared goal of maximising the benefits that e-assessment technologies can bring to educational assessment.
This serves as a prompt for me to welcome four new organisations as sponsors to our e-assessment community in 2020. As Gold Level sponsors, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to both the British Council and Tata Consulting Services, and at a Silver Level both Inspera and Calibrand. I look forward to working with all four organisations alongside our existing sponsors as we move into 2020.
Finally, I’d like to use this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to all of you for your continued support of the association, as without you there would be no community, no sharing of best practice, no encouraging of others to experience the benefits that e-assessment can offer. I hope that 2019 has been a successful and enriching year for you too and I look forward to working with as many of you as possible in 2020 to further our e-assessment community.
Season’s Greetings, and I hope that you enjoy reading this newsletter whilst relaxing over the festive season.
- Conference and Awards latest
- Keynote Speakers Announcement!
- Five reasons to enter Awards
- Case Study: University of Reading’s Long Term Vision For Online Assessment
- The Comeback Kid: Is Formative Assessment Back for Good?
- Elected to the Board. Why get involved?
- Case Study: Beyond The Textbook with Pregnancy Virtual Reality
- Listen: The eAssessment Association Podcast, with guests Jeff Ross and Martyn Roads
- The future of assessment: opportunities and challenges, November 2019, Vilnius, Lithuania
- International eAssessment Events Calendar
22nd & 23rd April 2020
America Square Conference Centre, London, UK
HEADLINE SPONSORS ANNOUNCED.
We are delighted to announce that RM Results will be the Headline Sponsor for the e-Assessment Question 2020; and that PSI International will be our Awards Headline Sponsor for the fourth year running. Thank you to both companies for their support!! Please head to our conference website for all the latest news:
The 2020 Conference is being organised by the e-Assessment Association, and as in previous years, this is a unique opportunity for the e-assessment sector to come together, network and share best practice. The 2020 e-Assessment Question Conference combines the Conference and annual Awards & Gala Dinner in the same venue for the first time, bringing you new stories, cutting edge innovations and the best case studies worldwide, from which we can all learn.
Keynote Speakers Announcement!
The eAA is delighted to announce
Maren Deepwell, CEO Association for Learning Technology
Pete Atherton, Author, 50 Ways to Use Technology Enhanced Learning in the Classroom
will be presenting at the two-day e-Assessment Question Conference.
For all the latest conference news and more speaker updates, please visit:
The fourth international e-Assessment Awards are now open for your entries, with a deadline of 31st January 2020.
We wrote a blog post recently with this very title: “Five reasons to enter awards” which if you missed, you can read here.
So in this newsletter we bring you not one, but two case studies from last year’s award finalists. Publishing and sharing widely these examples of outstanding uses of technology in assessment helps us all learn. We see what is possible and we consider how we can improve. At the same time, those who worked on these projects can hold their heads up high and be proud of what they have achieved as well as how they articulated this to our independent judging panels.
In addition to the case studies in this newsletter, you may chose to take a look at those that we have already published over on the eAA’s main website, including Qpercom and Lexplore. Qpercom won 2019’s Best Use of Summative Assessment Award and Lexplore were shortlisted for 2019’s Innovation Award.
Graham Orpwood, as a representative of Vretta, a small/medium sized ed tech company (75 employees) based in Canada and just beginning to work in the UK and European markets, said this about applying to the awards:
“At very low cost, it brings our company and its work to the attention of a wider audience of peers, and that as winners of awards to a much greater community of potential partners and customers. Since winning three awards in 2018 and another two in 2019, we have developed partnerships with several organisations, some of which were a direct consequence of the awards.
Applying for awards is part of a broader strategy for raising awareness of our products and services in the UK and further afield. Or letterhead now notes the awards along the bottom of each page and we feel the recognition is important to our overall marketing of the company.”
In 2014, the University outlined a vision for summative coursework to be submitted, marked, and feedback provided electronically to improve the student and staff experience of assessment.
At that time, the University was experiencing pockets of online assessment and didn’t really have an institution-wide approach. Also, a significant amount of the University’s assessment data was being managed using complex spreadsheets. These were time consuming to maintain and also meant that the University couldn’t collect more detailed information about the type, amount and timing of assessment and it didn’t have a record of all individual assessment marks in the student records systems for students to view.
In response, a new 3 year EMA Programme was created to run from 2017 until 2020 to deliver this vision and address existing challenges.
Read more about the Programme, the approach taken and how it enabled them to develop a new, sector-leading Student Progress Dashboard.
The EMA Programme,The University of Reading, was a finalist for the Best Transformational Project Award in the 2019 e-Assessment Awards.
The Comeback Kid: Is Formative Assessment Back for Good?
Seldom a day passes without calls to reduce summative exams, replacing them with the measurement of soft ‘21st Century’ skills. But how to measure these skills?
writes eAA Member, Geoff Chapman
The weight of historic evidence and day-to-day usage usually produces one answer: a summative exam. But formative assessment and their systems are starting to gain traction again. Is this a new trend or a re-heated flash-in-the-pan? Will we recognise summative assessment in 2030 as we do in 2020?
The rationale proposed by Paul Black and Dylan Wiliam’s 2009 paper ‘Developing the theory of formative assessment’ has washed back into educator practice and tech vendor development. Cross-pollination and blending of practice across education programmes and tech solution providers to ‘assess better’ is being witnessed. But haven’t we been here before?
“Having worked in higher education for over 20 years and had experience of being a school governor and trustee for two other organisations when I saw that there was an election to membership to the Board for the eAA I jumped at the chance. Being elected to the role was a very proud moment for me as I threw my hat into the ring and shared on various social media spaces. I was so very happy to hear that my peers also thought I should be on the Board and so when I heard I had been elected I was very excited. Within a month I’d met new people and even became involved in a pilot with a group of Universities as a direct result of my role with the eAA”.
PregnancyVue is a free virtual reality (VR) immersive learning experience which allows users to experience the stages of pregnancy from inside and outside the womb.
It was co-created with learners, tutors and subject specialists, in order to offer schools and colleges an opportunity to reimagine how they can engage with learners and improve knowledge retention. They took the equipment to Darlington College to give the students a new learning experience.
NCFE CACHE were a finalist for the Innovation Award in the 2019 e-Assessment Awards for PregnancyVue by CACHE.
Listen: The eAssessment Association Podcast, with guests Jeff Ross and Martyn Roads
Looking back and looking forward, the eAssessment Question Conference & Exhibition, and technology in testing with Jeff Ross and Martyn Roads
In this latest interview, Tim, Jeff and Martyn discuss topics including: the genesis of the idea for the eAQ conference; the different trends in e-Assessment uptake in various sectors including schools, higher education, vocational and professional testing; how a lack of political energy has held back schools; and the imbalance in technology users around the UK.
Jeff and Martyn have a wealth of experience in e-Assessment, having first been introduced to it some 20 years ago when they were both at Edexcel. Martyn was co-author of the Qualification and Curriculum Authority’s “Use of ICT in Assessment” report to the Department for Education and Skills in 2002 and has worked on a number of projects supporting the production of e-Assessments. Jeff has built up a great familiarity with assessment coming from a chemistry and IT background, up to becoming a senior change manager at Edexcel when he was first exposed to e-Assessment with Martyn. This eventually developed into the formation of the e-Assessment Question Conference
The future of assessment: opportunities and challenges, November 2019, Vilnius, Lithuania
Last month I was invited to attend and speak at a roundtable event in Vilnius hosted and organised by The National Agency for Education, Lithuania and RM Results.
This was my first trip to Lithuania and, if I am honest, my first engagement with the educational assessment sector within Central and Eastern Europe, and as I flew into Vilnius my mind was brimming with lots of questions about how e-assessment technology is used in this region – are the challenges different from the ones that we face in the UK; are the benefits of technology enabled assessment viewed differently from the ones that we understand and aspire to?
Follow us on twitter @eAssess for reminders of events. If you have an event or know of an event that does not feature on the calendar, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The work and efforts of the eAA would not be possible without our sponsors. Please visit their websites to learn more about their role and involvement in eAssessment.
Thank you also to the Board Members who give their time and expertise freely to this community, and to the members who stepped forward after the last newsletter, notably Geoff Chapman who wrote a blog piece for this newsletter and Paula Goddard who has some exciting plans lined up to take a more active role with the Association.
Finally, thank you to all the artists on unsplash.com, from where we select many of the images used in our newsletters.