SOLAR is SQA’s online assessment tool that provides summative and formative e-assessments. Assessments within SOLAR are made up of questions which are generated dynamically from an itembank. The summative assessments already available have been created and packaged by SQA, and quality assured by External Verifiers. The same bank of questions can be used to create formative assessments, and these can be delivered through the SOLAR e-assessment system in the same way as the summative e-assessments. These e-assessments cover qualifications at all levels from National Certificate to Higher National Diploma.
The summative e-assessments are pre-verified — so centres know that quality is assured. This provides real benefits for both learners and learning providers.
The formative e-assessments, which are quality assured and available to support many subjects, provide detailed feedback for learners. Learners can access the assessments 24 hours a day, 7 days a week using a browser and the SOLAR Open Assess portal.
Each delivery of an e-assessment to a learner is dynamically generated by the system, based on pre-specified rules.
The picture below is a link that will take you to a web page about SQA SOLAR assessments.
This link will allow you to try SOLAR formative assessments which include most of the question types mentioned in Suitability; What types of e-assessment could I use?; Types of assessment; E-testing.
SOLAR formative assessments
NAR is Scotland’s National Assessment Resource for Curriculum for Excellence and is a joint development between Education Scotland, SQA and the Scottish Government.
It will support assessment in practice and will support practitioners in developing a shared understanding of standards and expectations for Curriculum for Excellence and how to apply these consistently.
This link will take you to the NAR website. You will need a Glow account or SQA credentials to access the National Assessment Resource.
If you do not have a Glow account or SQA credentials to access the National Assessment Resource, the following links will provide you with more information about the NAR.
NAR, Scotland's National Assessment Resource for Curriculum for Excellence
About NAR: Guide to the National Assessment Resource
About the National Assessment Resource: Video Guides
Video Bank: Finding Materials on NAR
Making use of e-assessments has a number of benefits for both the learner and lecturer and forms a critical part of the learning process.
Bank on Success, a project focusing on e-assessment, is currently being piloted at the JISC RSC Scotland South & West.
This link will take you to the JISC Regional Support Centre Scotland website where you can preview the assessments produced.
These resources were developed for Moodle 1.9 and the last version of Blackboard but you should still be able to view them. If there was interest, JISC may consider updating them.
As they were developed as part of Bank on Success they were not quality assured; they represent resources developed by practitioners as part of that project.
Funded by the Skills Funding Agency and its predecessors to support learners and organisations in the post-16 sector, the NLN materials represent one of the most substantial and wide-ranging collections of e-learning materials in the UK.
The NLN Materials are small, flexible 'bite-sized' episodes of learning. They are not whole courses but are designed to support a wide range of subject and topic areas. The materials adopt a range of approaches involving some knowledge acquisition, a chance to practice and absorb, and some form of assessment to check that the learning has been understood and the learning outcome(s) achieved.
The materials give learners things to do and a chance to think for themselves. They are designed to be fun. Learners can make mistakes but can try again. There is plenty of in-built help if they get stuck and opportunities to go back and revise. Many of the materials include games or quizzes. Accessibility options are available on many of the materials to suit learners' individual needs. The materials are also designed to appeal to the different learning styles of students.
This link will take you to the NLN website where you can access the materials.
Scotland’s Colleges has a range of Learning Resources which include online formative assessment items, across a range of subject areas at SCQF levels 1-8. These assessment items were designed to be incorporated into the range of VLEs in place in colleges in Scotland.
The benefits include:
E-testing is a rapidly growing area of e-assessment involving the delivery of examinations and assessments on screen, either using local systems or web-based systems.
Guidance on e-testing delivery is available by using this link.
SQA is encouraging centres to provide learners with opportunities to use e-portfolios when taking SQA qualifications. E-portfolios offer benefits for learners, centres and SQA. They provide a secure environment where learners can store, organise and share their learning and assessment materials, in a range of media formats. E-portfolios allow tutors to access learners’ work, to assess and provide feedback. For SQA, e-portfolios offer a secure and flexible way to view assessment evidence and internal verification materials.
SQA has published guidance on using e-portfolios. This resource will give you advice about good practice, and highlights some of the things you’ll need to take into account when you’re supporting learners as they create e-portfolios for SQA qualifications. The guidance also provides examples of e-portfolio forms and templates which could be useful for demonstrating good practice in using e-portfolios for assessment.
From 2008-2010, SQA worked with centres and External Verifiers to pilot e-verification. This project was initiated because SQA was aware that centres and learners were increasingly using e-portfolios and other electronic means to manage assessment evidence and they wanted to explore how SQA could make use of e-verification as part of its quality enhancement process.
The report on this pilot is available by using the following link:
Piloting e-verification 2008-10
DeskSpace allows candidates to record their course evidence online, keeping everything together and accessible to teachers/tutors and assessors, even when they are at more than one centre. Work can be uploaded and submitted online and the user friendly interface helps candidates structure their learning through the use of online templates.
The DeskSpace e-portfolio is available to all SQA Skills for Work and Baccalaureate candidates and is currently available to centres free of charge until June 2012.
This link will take you to the SQA webpage: Skills for Work ePortfolios (DeskSpace).
SQA's Endorsement Service
SQA offers an endorsement service for organisations which provide resources to support the delivery of SQA qualifications and awards. This service may also be applied to e-portfolios. The Endorsement team evaluates the e-portfolio against both the endorsement criteria and SQA's requirements for e-portfolios to ensure that it is robust and fit for purpose. You can find out about SQA's Endorsement Service by using this link.
There are various types of e-portfolio systems ranging from a secure file storage function within a stand-alone system, to more sophisticated web-based products, or they may be part of a VLE. Centres may also decide to develop their own e-portfolio systems.
Guidance on e-portfolio use is available by using this link.
JISC is the UK’s expert on information and digital technologies for education and research.
Two resources from JISC offering guidance on large-scale e-portfolio implementation are available by using this link.
The e-Portfolio Implementation Toolkit has been developed from the JISC-funded e-Portfolio Implementation (ePI) study of successful institution-wide practice in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. The toolkit contains over one hundred exemplars of e-portfolio use in a wide range of further and higher education contexts and eighteen case studies of approaches to wide-scale implementation. These form the basis of the Toolkit guidance that addresses the challenges, issues and stages in wide-scale e-portfolio implementation and presents an implementation model to assist your institution or programme in embedding and sustaining e-portfolio use.
Also available are five new video case studies, Stories of e-portfolio implementation, illustrating implementation strategies taken by five of the case study institutions. These rich-media resources provide additional personal insights into the challenges and benefits each institution has encountered. The videos are embedded into the Toolkit and can be downloaded or played by using this link. Transcripts are available for users of screen readers.
Both resources are made freely available, providing practitioners and managers in further and higher education with a unique insight into current UK and overseas e-portfolio practice. Feedback, thoughts and comments are welcome on these resources, and the facility to do so provided in the Toolkit itself. The resources can be used in conjunction with Effective Practice with e-Portfolios (JISC 2008) and the JISC e-Portfolios infoKit to provide a comprehensive package of support and guidance from JISC on e-portfolios in further and higher education.
CLASS (Collaborative Learning Assessed by Social Software) is a tool for learners studying for the Project-based National Course (PBNC) in Health and Safety in Care Settings. It offers them a blog and a wiki to record group activities and generate a group project.
The graphic below is a link that will take you to the CLASS homepage.
JISC infoNet aims to be the UK's leading advisory service for managers in the post-compulsory education sector promoting the effective strategic planning, implementation and management of information and learning technology.
JISC has produced an online Infokit Guide to Social Software.
This infokit explains more about social software, illustrated with real-life examples, and outlining potential uses for learning and teaching, research and business and community engagement. It also aims to highlight the key issues which may need to be considered when implementing such technologies, and to provide pointers for successful use.
Travel and Tourism at Cardonald College
The link below will take you to the transcript of a Case Study on using a wiki to support research, planning and assessment in Travel and Tourism.
Podcast Transcript – Cardonald College
Education Scotland and game-based learning
The vibrant and dynamic world of the computer game and its impacts on learning and teaching is an area that Education Scotland is committed to exploring, promoting and developing.
You can find out what has been happening in classrooms around Scotland by using the following link: Education Scotland and game-based learning
Mobile and wireless technologies can provide flexible and timely access to learning resources, instantaneous communication, portability, active learning experiences and the empowerment and engagement of learners, particularly those in dispersed communities. Yet, despite the almost ubiquitous ownership of mobile phones, the adoption of mobile technologies in post-16 teaching practice is still in its infancy.
This link takes you to a case study on using mobile phones for formative assessment.
This link takes you to a case study on using tablet PCs for e-assessment.
The Deskspace Mobile approach has now been trialled and tested and is available for download from the Add Ons section in your Deskspace Tools menu. The application is a simplified version of the e-portfolio with ability to send pictures and record evidence straight into your e-portfolio account. We hope this will help overcome difficulty in accessing suitable ICT equipment and time available to upload material to the e-portfolio. There are three formats available to suit a range of mobile phones.
Deskspace Mobile - Basic: A basic WAP enabled interface which is visible on all web enabled phones including an upload function. Deskspace Mobile - PDA: This includes the functionality above but is designed to operate on Windows Mobile PDAs and Smartphones.
Pebblepad iPhone app: This is an approved app by Apple. However, this version is currently only available under the Pebblepad branding and costs £1.79 to download, but may be customised for Deskspace at a later stage.
The graphic below is a link that will take you to the DeskSpace homepage.
Guidance on the use of electronic voting systems technology
If using these systems for summative assessment it would be advisable to seek awarding body prior-verification of the bank of questions you will use.
Electronic voting systems resources
You may find the following resources about electronic voting systems useful.
JISC is the UK’s expert on information and digital technologies for education and research.
Electronic voting analysis and feedback for all
Case Study on Using Moodle easyVoter Student Response System for formative assessment
SQA offers a Prior verification service to centres who devise their own instruments of assessment or who wish to significantly change items from the National Assessment Bank to suit their particular local needs.
This link will take you to SQA's Prior Verification Service.