Digital assessment: drivers, benefits, barriers and challenges

Digital assessment: drivers, benefits, barriers and challenges man studying at a computer
Date: Date to be confirmed Venue: Online
Time: 12:30 - 14:30
Type: Workshop Fee: £95 (Members - £85.50)

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This workshop is accredited for continuing professional development (2 CPD hours), with certification post attendance.

Despite the many potential benefits of digital assessment, many high-stakes assessments like GCSEs and A Levels have focused on exploiting technology for the administration and marking of tests, rather than the test-taker experience. On this interactive workshop you'll explore why this might be and discover lessons learnt from research into introducing digital assessments in a few different contexts.

This workshop will be useful to practitioners interested in developing their understanding of digital and online assessments, the challenges and advantages they bring and how these impact the delivery of assessments. Please note if you have previously attended our workshop 'E-assessment: expectations, impediments and lessons learnt' then this would be a repeat of the content.

Course outline

We will first share definitions of digital assessment and describe points in the assessment process where technology can be exploited. Secondly, we will think about the drivers and benefits as well as the barriers and challenges of digital or online assessments, pulling on examples. Finally, we will share what research and experience we have to offer to help manage the challenges of introducing digital assessment.

Key learning outcomes

By the end of the workshop you will have:

  • An understanding of what digital assessment is and where in the assessment process it can have impact
  • Considered the benefits and advantages of digital assessment as well as the barriers and challenges
  • Explored learning from research and practice about how to manage the challenges of digital assessment

Course trainers

Sarah Hughes Sarah Hughes is Research Information Manager at Cambridge Assessment International Education. She has taught in primary schools and been a researcher for UK and international awarding bodies and government agencies. Her particular research interests are the validity of assessment and the impact of research on practice and policy. Sarah currently carries out and applies research to support assessment practitioners and to improve assessment quality.


Hye-won Lee Hye-won Lee is Senior Research Manager at Cambridge English where she conducts research projects related to new generation assessments and digital products. Before joining Cambridge, she has built an extensive experience of developing and validating digital assessments at leading organizations including Educational Testing Service. She holds a PhD in Applied Linguistics and Technology from Iowa State University, USA, with specialization in technology-enhanced language assessment and argument-based validation.


Andrew Mullooly Andrew Mullooly is a member of the Assessment Quality & Validity Capability team at Cambridge English. As part of his roles and responsibilities, he is the Joint Chair of the Speaking Skills Group and has been involved in a number of projects related to Speaking test development and technology. Before working at Cambridge, he lived in Japan for several years and has also taught English in both Spain and Italy.


Sanjay Mistry Sanjay Mistry is Head of Research for Digital Assessment & Evaluation at Cambridge Assessment International Education. This key role brings together the strands of academic and market research in the area of on-screen tests and other digital products, the outcomes of which are being used to lead the research strategy for Cambridge International's on-screen assessments.

Sanjay joined Cambridge International in 2012 after spending over 10 years teaching in primary schools. Sanjay initially joined the organisation as an Assessment Manager for Primary and Lower Secondary Science. He moved to a Digital Test Design and Authoring Manager role, looking into the way we develop on-screen tests using a learner centred approach, before taking the role of Head of On-screen Research in 2019.


Hannah North Hannah North is the Digital Product Manager for Cambridge Primary and Lower Secondary Computing. Hannah joined Cambridge International in 2022, from Cambridge CEM. She is working on a new product, focusing where we can add value digitally beyond our paper offering, by taking our existing assessment models and curricula, and working together to create a digital, Checkpoint assessment for Primary and Lower Secondary, using our existing technology.


Cerys Burcher Cerys Burcher is Head of Digital Product Development in the Digital Assessment & Evaluation team in International Education. She has worked at Cambridge since 2019 and led digital product development on several key cross-Cambridge digital assessment initiatives, working directly with schools, teachers and students, as well as closely with assessment, UX, technology and operations experts and practitioners. 

Cerys and team are working on the CI and OCR Digital Assessment programme, to define and deliver on-screen Checkpoints, VQs, GCSEs and A levels, ensuring we combine a customer-centric digital product development approach with the academic rigour Cambridge stands for.


Saishree Singal Saishree Singal is Digital Product Manager in Digital Assessment & Evaluation team in International Education. Saishree joined Cambridge International in 2023. She is working on Digital Mocks Service, focusing on migrated assessments, to identify existing challenges with the delivery of paper assessments and to understand how we can add value and support teachers and learners better with digital using our current curricula and existing technology.


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