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JANISON WHITE PAPER

TRANSFORMING ASSESSMENT FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

WHITE PAPER


WHITE PAPER TRANSFORMING ASSESSMENT FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

Introduction...........................................................................2

It seems like an age since we stopped writing letters and started using email as our common form of business communication. It wasn’t long after that, when we swapped buying print encyclopaedias for our children, with an investment in our home internet connections. The digital age has transformed our lives in almost every way.

Rate of Change....................................................................3 Cloud Computing................................................................3 Scalability............................................................................3 Opportunities........................................................................3 Advantages...........................................................................4 Increased Engagement..................................................4 Collaboration.....................................................................4 Intelligent Marking...........................................................4 Improving Effectiveness.................................................4 National Online Assessments.........................................4 Cloud Learning System (CLS)..........................................5 Peer Recognition.................................................................5

Except one… assessment. Our students, whether they attend school, TAFE or university, still predominantly use pen and paper when they complete exams, even though the rest of their education is dominated by online interaction. Why is that and when will it change? The digital transformation of assessment has been a long time coming, but it’s finally on its way. Read on to learn more about how our children will use technology to be assessed and the opportunities and benefits it provides.

The digital transformation of assessment has been a long time coming, but it’s finally on its way. Wayne Houlden – Chief Executive Officer, Janison

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WHITE PAPER TRANSFORMING ASSESSMENT FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

Rate of Change The rate of change in technology is having a dramatic impact upon the way we imagine the future for education. It is well understood that the promises of how the web would transform education have been delivered quite slowly and incrementally. Finally, online technologies are causing major disruption, particularly to higher education, through the emergence of MOOCs (massive open online courses). What has changed in the last few years that now makes such disruption possible?

Cloud Computing The answer is not simple, but one important part of the answer is the development of cloud computing, and in particular, the development of technologies that have enabled developers to build systems that can scale to support enormous numbers of users. The true value of the term, ‘cloud computing’ has been devalued over the last few years. When it was first termed it described the new way of locating, organising and making publicly-available, massive amounts of computing resources. It was a revolutionary way of thinking and it was built on substantial research and development performed by some of the leading software innovators of our age, such as Google, Amazon and Microsoft. SCALABILITY Scalable applications, and the associated cloud computing technologies, are the backbone of the significant online cultural shifts we have experienced over the last few years. Google, Gmail, Amazon, eBay, Hotmail, Twitter, Facebook, iTunes and all of the other popular web-based services, are based on such technology.

Over the last few years, many of the technologies that were used uniquely by Google, Amazon and others have become more generally available and it is now possible for a software developer to easily build an application with such scalable capabilities. Just as importantly, once developed, an application can be hosted on a cloud platform easily and inexpensively and it can scale to use more resources when required.

Opportunities Within the education sphere, there are many opportunities to take advantage of these technologies to support applications that might be used by many students at one time. The key ability of cloud based applications to scale the service up and down to meet seasonal, weekly, hourly or even minute-by-minute demand, aligns to the education market – where peaks of usage reflect different seasonal, weekly and daily use, and vary between negligible use – for example, by almost nobody in one week, to massive use by millions of students the very next week. One of the most common opportunities for such applications is in the area of online assessment. Assessments are a great example of many students being brought together to undertake an activity. To date, institutions and governments have avoided large online assessments, arguing that their implementation is too complex, too costly and too risky. Even though students rarely write lengthy texts by hand under normal circumstances, they are still expected to perform such a task when they reach a final assessment. I wonder when the last time was that you wrote a long letter or essay rather than taking advantage of a computer to draft and perfect your writing?

The twist being that these services started before the technologies were fully developed and as a result of their early and astronomical success, the frantic development of the cloud computing platforms were driven by the need to service more and more users.

Cloud based assessment systems will transform education ...

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WHITE PAPER TRANSFORMING ASSESSMENT FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

Advantages Now, the development and adoption of cloud-based assessment systems will transform this area of education in a similar way to how email has changed the way we communicate. New assessment systems offer many advantages. INCREASED ENGAGEMENT Firstly, they offer a much more engaging and richer experience for students. Stimuli such as animation, audio and video can be added to questions to help provide additional context. When answering questions with a text response, students will be able to use the same tools and techniques they already use every day when creating text. This means that they will be able to edit and format content as they type their response. Even more importantly, new ways of answering a question can be included. A student’s answer can be a recording of their engagement with an on-screen interaction, rather than a stream of text or numbers. COLLABORATION

Students using different languages collaborating on an assessment task

New research in learning and 21st century skills has identified collaboration as an essential area that students should develop and be assessed against. Online assessments now offer the ability to join students together to complete assessment tasks collaboratively and measure the resulting activity in terms of knowledge and ability to work together to solve a problem.

National Online Assessments

INTELLIGENT MARKING

Australia has plans to provide the NAPLAN assessments online in 2016.

Another significant improvement from the use of online assessments is the process of marking. Assessments can be automatically marked by collecting all of the student responses and using constrained answer options. Where text responses require marking, online systems can improve and streamline the management of the marking process, whilst also detecting plagiarism and intelligently marking certain responses. Consequently, the costs and time for marking can be significantly reduced by online assessment systems. IMPROVING EFFECTIVENESS Finally, online assessment systems generate significant data that can be analysed and used to improve and guide the creation of more effective assessments.

Many countries are planning to introduce national online assessment strategies.

Finland and Singapore, recognised leaders in the area of student performance, have implemented plans to provide online assessments as early as 2014. Australia has been at the forefront of the development and trial of large-scale assessments to date, with NSW implementing a state-wide online science assessment for Year 8 students. During this event, more information is being transmitted by this cloud service than by the total number of Australian users using Facebook at that time. The same Australian-developed technology will be used by Singapore next year when they are the first country to implement nationwide online examinations.

“ We are delighted with the results. The team at Janison are great to work with and are really leading innovation in this space.” Eric Jamieson – Director, High Performance NSW Education and Communities

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WHITE PAPER TRANSFORMING ASSESSMENT FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

It is likely that in Australia, school students will experience the digital assessment revolution first. The advent of national online assessments will also enable much more accessible and regular online measurements. These can be used by teachers at any time to help monitor and understand student progress and help to inform strategies for improvement. It is hard to imagine our school students, who complete their assessments online, being comfortable reverting to pen and paper when they enter universities.

Cloud Learning System (CLS) Janison’s Cloud Learning System (CLS) provides online exams and assessments using cloud-based hosting technology. In 2010, Janison first hosted the Essential Secondary Assessment (ESSA) program for the NSW Department of Education on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform as a service. This transformed the annual science test for the state’s Year 8 students from a paper-based test to an online multimedia assessment program. When it was piloted in 2010, nearly 40,000 students from 650 schools took the test online in a single day. It was the first time a standardised, state-wide practical test had ever been undertaken online. Following the successful pilot, Janison was awarded the contract to provide the program for the next 3 years. This year, up to 85,000 students will sit the assessment. Eric Jamieson, Director of High Performance at NSW Department of Education and Communities said: “The CLS Assessment platform provides the technology and scalable services to eliminate paper-based exams and assessments and time-consuming manual processes to mark and complete the assessments and supports an integrated suite of questions, videos and animations making learning and assessment more interactive.

The online environment provides opportunities to assess a broader range of syllabus outcomes. The test environment provides better access for students, and teachers have reported that student engagement levels are considerably improved.” Janison’s CLS platform has attracted interest from education systems and corporate clients around the world.

Recognition from our Industry Peers We are very proud of our achievements and acknowledge that it takes exceptional people and talent to drive our culture of innovation. We were delighted to receive the Microsoft Windows Azure Partner of the Year for our expertise in building innovative software applications. We were also honoured to be presented with the prestigious Brandon Hall Gold award for Best Advance in Technology for Learning Evaluation. Most recently, we’ve been voted by BRW as one of the Top 30 innovative companies in Australia.

Windows Azure Platform ISV Partner of the Year Technology 2012

Global and national clients include: ASIC, Deloitte, Ramsay Health, Rio Tinto, David Jones, News Ltd, Brisbane City Council, NZ Defence, ACMA, Australian Sports Commission, Legal Aid WA, NSW Health, Royal Lifesaving Society of Australia.

We are delighted with the results. The team at Janison are great to work with and are really leading innovation in this space.

ABOUT JANISON Janison develops world-leading, innovative online learning solutions including learning management systems and online assessment systems used by corporates, universities, training providers, membership-based organisations and government departments – in fact, any organisation that provides online learning services to their staff, students, members or customers.

Contact us for more information: info@janison.com.au +61 (0) 2 6652 9850

www.janison.com.au


Transforming assessment for the 21st century