The Contribution That Technology Can Make to the Assessment Process Essay

Assessment lies at the heart of the learning experience, how learners are assessed shapes their understanding of the curriculum and determines their ability to progress. At the same time, assessment and feedback form a significant part of practitioners’ workloads and, with increased numbers, reduced budgets and higher learner expectations, continue to be a matter of concern for many institutions delivering higher education.

Technology can support nearly every aspect of assessment in one way or another, from the administration of individual tests and assignments to the management of assessment across a faculty or institution; from automatically marked on-screen tests to tools to support human marking and feedback.

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Clearly, though, for technology-enhanced assessment to be effective, pedagogically sound developments need to be supported by robust and appropriate technology, within a supportive institutional or departmental context.

Technology can be used to enhance the assessment process in the following : Video evidence of skills/performance Video technology introduces a number of advantages to the assessment process.

Video can be used to provide standardized content for candidates to respond to including video shot in the field that provides material that would otherwise be difficult to recreate for each candidate during the assessment process (e.g. major emergency incidents). Also, video is often used to capture the candidate’s responses for later scoring and to create a record of candidate performance that can be used to enhance candidate feedback and career development. Some video-based programs use video for both the stimulus material and for recording the candidates’ responses for later scoring.

Recording of oral evidence The use of recorded oral evidence in assessment process is a technology that adds value to assessment and feedback: Speed and ease of data processing (greater efficiency can mean greater effectiveness even in large groups). Improved dialogue (assessor-student; student-student) and information flow curricular objectives, assignment deadlines; goals and standards; test data). it also helps in overcoming constraints of distance, time and (in some cases) numbers. The use of recorded oral evidence in assessment process also contributes to Immediacy and contingency. Authenticity through filmed or simulated practice, or virtual world scenarios. Opportunities to break new ground (eg student collaboration in assessment design ;capture of the dynamic processes involved in learning; focus on acquisition of competence, peer and self-assessment)

Paperless portfolio An e-portfolio (paperless portfolio) is a purposeful aggregation of digital items – ideas, evidence, reflections, feedback etc. which ‘presents’ a selected audience with evidence of a person’s learning. Various definitions exist of term e-portfolio. Behind ssessment process, lie rich and complex processes of planning, synthesising, sharing, discussing, reflecting, giving, receiving and responding to feedback.

Descriptions of e-portfolio processes also tend to include the concepts of learners drawing from both informal and and formal learning activities to create their e-portfolios, which are personally managed and owned by the learner, and where items (or whole e-portfolio presentations) can be selectively shared with other parties such as peers, teachers, assessors or employers.

Computer-based/on-line testing A Computer-Based Assessment (CBA), also known as Computer-Based Testing (CBT), e-assessment, computerized testing and computer-administered testing, is a method of administering tests in which the responses are electronically recorded, assessed, or both. As the name implies, Computer-Based Assessment makes use of a computer or an equivalent electronic device such as a cell phone or PDA. CBA systems enable assessors to author, schedule, deliver, and report on surveys, quizzes, tests and exams. Computer-Based Assessment may be a stand-alone system or a part of a virtual learning environment, possibly accessed via the World Wide Web.

It has many contributions over traditional (paper-based) assessment. The contributions include: lower long-term costs instant feedback to students greater flexibility with respect to location and timing improved reliability (machine marking is much more reliable than human marking) improved impartiality (machine marking does not ‘know’ the students so does not favour nor make allowances for minor errors) greater storage efficiency – tens of thousands of answer scripts can be stored on a server compared to the physical space required for paper scripts enhanced question styles which incorporate interactivity and multimedia.

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