by Ken Boston QCA (e-assessment
Main Benefits of e-assessment
e-assessment makes assessment more accessible by being physically
on-line, on-demand. This is the most obvious
benefit. No need for scheduled exam dates and places.
Simply turn up at a LearnDirect centre, a library, a pub even, which
has the relevant facilities. Access the assessment on-line and receive
immediate feedback. Potentially, with sophisticated recognition
techniques, e-assessment could conceivably be reliably undertaken
in a candidate's own home, assuming acceptable levels of reliability
that the candidate really is who they say they are have been established.
Second, e-assessment makes assessment more accessible by
being potentially more acceptable and less threatening to learners.
When doing a test feels more like playing a video game, a whole
generation of exam-allergic learners may willingly seek to have
their achievements and learning recognised formally.
Third, technology means that totally new forms of assessment
which might be more appropriate, more challenging, more diverse,
can be achieved on-line. E-assessment literally adds a new dimension
to assessment, falling in between physical assessment of skills
or competence and traditional paper and pen examinations. New assessment
potential means new skills development potential. In the long term
this may mean profound changes to the national curriculum but, in
today's context, it could change the face of vocational learning
both in schools and in the workplace.
Last, but by no means least, e-assessment will itself drive
the development of e-learning. I don't think there will be anyone
in the audience who has not had their eyes opened today by the sheer
power and potential power of e-learning. No one who has listened
to our speakers and test-driven some of the materials on display
could fail to understand that e-learning can and will have a profound
effect on work-based learning. But we cannot tolerate a situation
where someone who has completed a programme of learning in their
own time, at their own pace, has to book in for a paper and pen
exam at the local college in order for that learning to be recognised.