Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Can e-assessment maintain the "Gold Standard"?

On-screen testing has come a long way from the simple the automation of multiple choice questions. The next generation of GCSE questions that are presently under development by AQA open up new, exciting and innovative ways of examining young people.

The Technology Enabled Assessment for Learning (TEAL) team at AQA, working in partnership with btl, are harnessing the additional functionality of Web 2.0 to enable examiners to set totally different type of task to assess pupils. Questions employing interactive graphics and drag-and-drop technology enable the opportunity for candidates to demonstrate quite advanced mathematical, experimental and interpretative skills.

Take the following science question for example: [click on image to enlarge]

[Image: Copyright AQA - used with permission]
In this question, candidates are required to make a scientific observation of this "virtual experiment" and then to "plot" the 30cm reading to the correct point on the graph.

What these sample questions demonstrate is that onscreen testing has reached a sufficient level of development to allow for a complexity and range of questions that give scope for examiners to challenge the digital generation. The technology is now available for on-line testing to be as equally demanding as the paper examinations with which previous generations grappled and thus there is no reason why e-assessment itself should threaten the Gold Standard in KS4 testing.

AQA have just posted some exemplar "future thinking" questions on their website. If you want a glimpse of the future of GCSE questions, click here to go the AQA site to do the exemplar questions online.

[I am grateful to AQA for giving me permission to use the image of the Photosynthesis experiment in this blogpost - the image remains the copyright of AQA]

1 comment:

  1. As a sixth form student, at Berkhamsted I have some pretty strong views about e-learning. Though it may appear to 'nurture' some much un-needed IT skills among kids, it will also breed a generation of socially inept, short sighted, carpel tunnel sufferers. For what? So we can keep up with the supposed increased productivity computers bring, once proficient, well I recently passed 10,000 hours of computer use and have to say it has been nothing but a detriment to my entire life and am all too happy to spend the least ammount of time on the PC as possible.

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