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Friday, 28 October 2011

Effective assessment workshop

I attended a workshop about assessment yesterday. It was organised by JISC and held in Glasgow. There was an excellent turn-out, with around 60 people attending from the HE and FE sectors. The title of the workshop was Effective Assessment in the Digital Age, and its key purpose was to generate ideas about how to change [assessment] practice in college.

I've had a professional interest in how technology affects assessment for a long time. My paper on modernising assessment generated some interest a few years ago. Interestingly, the event opened with the statement: "You won't here us talk about 'e-assessment' or 'computer-assisted assessment', only how technology can assist assessment". The implication being that technology is assistive, not transformational. I'm not sure that I agree.

The event was very practical, with few presentations and lots of round-table discussions. There were also a couple of case studies about how centres have used tools such as blogs and e-portfolios for assessment. The JISC publication Effective Assessment in a Digital Age [PDF] was referred to throughout the event, and it's a publication that I recommend you download and read.

There are lots of challenges around the use of technology for learning and assessment. We need to modernise teaching methods to take advantage of the new learning environment. And research has shown that we don't assess online writing consistently or, on many occasions, fairly.

JISC events are invariably good, and yesterday's event was no exception. You can get a taste of it from its Twitter feed.

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