Assessment SIG meeting, 26 September 2007

Academics and developers met in Glasgow recently to participate in the most recent Assessment SIG meeting. The very full agenda covered a range of topics, both technical and pedagogic, and presentations led to some lively discussions.

Myles Danson of JISC opened the day by presenting JISC’s views and priorities for eassessment, as well as pointing to some future work they will be undertaking in the domain.

Yongwu Miao of the Open University of the Netherlands discussed work undertaken by the TENCompetence Project, with a particular focus on the relationship between IMS QTI and IMS Learning Design and the work they have done in this area. Dick Bacon of the University of Surrey and the HEA discussed the relationship between different varieties or ‘dialects’ of QTI, exploring some of the implementation and interpretation issues that hinder or break interoperability between systems nominally implementing the same version of the specification. CAL Consultant Graham Smith pleased the audience with news that a new Java version of his QTI demonstrator will be available shortly with updated support for QTI 2.0 items, which should help in the identification and resolution of implementation problems.

Martin Hawksey of the University of Strathclyde presented the work of the Re-Engineering Assessment Practices project. With a focus on real world assessment experiences, including an impressive collection of case studies exploring the impact of transformation within assessment practices, the REAP project was of particular interest to participants. Also of great interest, and perhaps unsuprisingly sparking the greatest amount of debate, was the exploration of ‘Assessment 2.0′ presented by Bobby Elliott of the Scottish Qualifications Authority. Bobby looked at ways in which Web 2.0 technologies can be used to enhance and modernise assessment in ways which can engage and appeal to increasingly digitally literate learners.

The day also featured several demonstrations of tools under development. Niall Barr of NB Software demonstrated his current work, an assessment tool which utilises the IMS QTI, Content Packaging and Common Cartridge specifications, while Steve Bennett of the University of Hertfordshire demonstrated MCQFM, a JISC-funded tool which provides a simple text-based format for converting and editing items between formats. Two more JISC projects closed the day. AQuRate, presented by Alicia Campos and David Livingstone of Kingstone University, is an elegant item authoring tool while ASDEL, presented by Jon Hare of the University of Southampton, is an assessment delivery tool which builds on the R2Q2 project to provide a fuller test tool. A third project, Minibix (University of Cambridge) on item banking, is working closely with AQuRate and ASDEL.

Links to presentations (via slideshare), project websites and other information can all be found on our wiki: