How centres organise and deliver e-assessment will vary considerably, and the planning processes for this delivery must take into account existing protocols for conventional assessment. These may largely be capable of being applied as they stand to e-assessment delivery, but it is likely that new procedures will also need to be created – for example the processes for appeal of or review of e-assessment decisions.
Your centre or authority may already have an e-assessment policy. Once you’ve checked this, the first things to do are to analyse your reasons for introducing e-assessment, consider the curricular areas to be targeted, and decide whether your centre has the necessary organisational and technical infrastructure. You should explain your reasons to the staff who will be involved in e-assessment. Students, and (if it is necessary) their parents/guardians, should also be told why e-assessment is being introduced, and how it links with the other course activities.
Your centre or authority may already have an authentication/security policy. Ideally this should be a documented procedure on how the centre staff will check learners’ authentication and on the strategies to be used to ensure the authenticity of learners’ evidence.
You will find further information in the Authentication section of this web resource.
The four UK qualifications regulators, SQA, QCA, DELLS and CCEA liaise on an ongoing basis on the issue of e-assessment. Some of the UK's awarding bodies also contribute to these discussions.
In 2007 the regulatory bodies published Regulatory Principles for e-Assessment to guide awarding bodies and centres on the use of e-assessment, with the intention of encouraging innovative practice and enhancing the quality assurance of e-assessment.
SQA does not dictate the e-assessment systems centres use. However, as with traditional assessment approaches, we do require that the assessments are kept secure; that the storage of assessment materials is robust; that access to the assessments is restricted; that a system for authentication of candidates and their work is in place. If the external verification process determines that these requirements have not been met then the e-assessments may not be accepted.
SQA has drawn on Regulatory Principles for e-Assessment and other publications to produce criteria designed to advise SQA centres and SQA External Verifiers about the standards expected of e-assessment systems which are used to deliver SQA qualifications SQA Requirements for e-assessment.
SQA's requirements for e-portfolios provide guidance to ensure centres’ e-portfolios are robust and fit for purpose.
The e-Assessment Toolkit was created on the basis of E-assessment: Guide to effective practice, a publication which was developed by the UK regulatory bodies.
This link will take you to the e-Assessment Toolkit.
Centres are advised to check with awarding bodies for guidance on their e-assessment policies.
JISC, Scotland’s Colleges and the e-Assessment Association may also be able to advise.
By law, centres offering assessment for qualifications should take all reasonable steps not to discriminate against any student. If an e-assessment is not felt to be appropriate, an alternative or equivalent assessment, such as a paper version, should be provided.
You may find this paper from Education Scotland (formerly Learning & Teaching Scotland) to be of interest.
Focusing on inclusion and the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004
E-assessment systems should be compatible with different assistive technologies - screen readers, speech recognition software and touch screens, for example. More time should be allocated for students using such technologies, if it is needed.
For assessments where sound input or output is needed, students will have to be provided with headphones or be located in a separate room.
Images used in e-assessments should be provided with a textual equivalent. Students should be able to adjust the text size. Most systems allow the use of style sheets, enabling students to customise the appearance of the pages on the screen. Shortcut (access) keys should be made available as an alternative to the use of a mouse.
SQA's Assessment Arrangements
SQA has a section of its website detailing its Assessment Arrangements. This can be accessed by using the following link:
SQA's Assessment Arrangements
JISC TechDis has some resources relating to assessment policy. These can be accessed by using the following link:
Assessment policy resources
You may find the following resources about accessibility and inclusion useful.
Interoperability is the term used to describe the ability of two or more systems to exchange and use information. A typical example might be where one e-portfolio system allows a learner to transfer some or all of the contents of his or her e-portfolio to another e-portfolio system, perhaps when moving on from education to employment. Technical standards are being developed to facilitate this process.
JISC CETIS provides advice on educational technology and interoperability for the Higher and Further Education sectors.
You may find this JISC CETIS paper to be of interest:
The Future of Interoperability and Standards in Education – System and Process (2010)
International Organization for Standardization
Standards exist that govern the delivery of online testing – BS ISO/IEC 23988:2007 Information technology
World Wide Web Consortium
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web. W3C is working to make the Web accessible to all users (despite differences in culture, education, ability, resources, and physical limitations).
There is a W3C Community Group that focuses on e-learning. Participants discuss new and existing technologies for e-learning and M-learning. The group also talks about the reach, social change and impact of e-learning. E-learning: Evolving technologies and growing reach
The report by John McClelland C.B.E. on his Review of ICT Infrastructure in the Public Sector in Scotland was published in June 2011.
The Scottish Government response to this Review includes a mention of the engagement that will be needed with all parts of the public sector and with the ICT industry to deliver the vision described in the McClelland report, in a section entitled 'Governance'.
Amongst their achievements, the Scottish Government note that they have delivered two major services to the education sector: Glow (the national learning intranet for Schools) and Interconnect 2.0 (the supporting high speed broadband network).
The Scottish Government has produced an Infrastructure Action Plan which outlines its commitment to a world-class, future proofed infrastructure that will deliver digital connectivity across the whole of Scotland by 2020.
Following a consultation exercise, SQA has re-launched its Vision and Strategy for E-assessment. First published in March 2005, this document aims to set out clearly SQA's priorities for this area of work and the likely implications for SQA and its various stakeholder groups.