E-assessment depends on trust, says leading educationalist

17 March 2010

Speaking at 'The 8th e-Assessment Question' conference today in London, Simon Lebus told the gathering that despite continuous improvements to technology the public are still uncertain whether e-assessment can provide a true test of learning.

"Interestingly, the same challenge is not found within the professional world”, continued Simon. "People have come to trust airline pilots who have been e-assessed. It is now up to us to prove that some of the same the benefits of validity and reliability apply in e-assessing education at 16 and 18."

Lebus points out that his organisation's focus is not simply to replicate existing pen-and-paper tests electronically but to explore ways that computers can add real value to assessment. Cambridge Assessment applies its experience to extensive research and development of assessment techniques. This covers both the theoretical and practical aspects of e-assessment and its use from the classroom to the workplace.

Concepts, including virtual learning environments, on-screen testing and marking systems, electronic portfolios and mobile technologies, have now become integral in modern education, helping to drive personalised learning and reach previously untapped areas of assessment.

The big question Lebus believes is how do we achieve the same confidence in e-assessment in education that we now find in professional areas such as medicine and the emergency services? This would pave the way for the large scale use of e-assessment for accountability, monitoring the performance of the education system and for replacing the current national curriculum testing regime (Sats)?

For more information about the conference visit The 8th Annual Conference and Exhibition from Assessment Tomorrow.

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