Gales are howling, trains in chaos, so it must be January and time to look ahead to what 2008 has in store…
The final release of QTI v2.1 should be out this spring, and it’ll be interesting to see what uptake is like. This will be the most stable and mature version of the specification to date, supported by a long public draft stage and a number of implementations. Angel Learning are a significant commercial early adopter, and other vendors are bound to be looking at their experiences and whether Angel’s embracing of the specification has an impact on their own customer demand for QTI 2.1.
Other significant implementors of 2.1 are the JISC Capital Programme projects which will be concluding around March. AQuRate offers an item authoring tool, Minibix provides support for a range of item banking functions while ASDEL is an assessment delivery engine which supports both standalone use and integration with a VLE. These projects should deliver quality resources to the community which will provide a firm foundation for use of the specification. There was a sneak preview of these projects at our last SIG meeting.
Talking of SIG meetings, dates for the next two meetings can now be confirmed.
On 19 February there will be a joint meeting with the CETIS Educational Content SIG in Cambridge. This meeting will cover a range of shared concerns such as new content related specifications such as Common Cartridge and Tools Interoperability, and innovative approaches to educational material and assessment. Information about this meeting and online registration will be available very soon. This will be preceded by a workshop hosted by the Capital Programme projects discussed above.
The focus shifts from assessment as content to assessment as process with another joint meeting on 1 May in Glasgow. This meeting will be a joint meeting with the CETIS Portfolio and Enterprise SIGs and will offer an opportunity to explore some of the shared issues in these domains. Again, information on the event will be available on the mailing lists, on this blog and on the website in due course.
Another event of note is the annual International Computer Assisted Assessment Conference on 8 and 9 July at Loughborough. The call for papers is already out, with submissions due by 29 February. As always, this should be a lively and important event in the CAA calendar. Alt-C 2008, Rethinking the Digital Divide, will be held in Leeds on 9 – 11 September; again, the closing date for submissions is 29 February. There’s also a regularly updated list of non-CETIS assessment related events on the wiki.
And what about the trends for eassessment in 2008? The results of Sheila’s poll, with a strong emphasis on Web 2.0 technologies and possibilities, do seem to reflect to some extent the comments on the last meeting’s evaluation forms which suggested increasing interest in innovative technologies, signficant concern with transforming and enhancing the assessment experience and direct engagement with teaching and learning rather than the more abstract issues of standards and specifications for their own sake. It will be interesting to see how the more ‘traditional’ XML-based QTI v2.1 fares in the light of the increasing popularity of mashups and web services in 2008.