SQA examining the future of assessment

Monday 05 June 2017

How do you assess the knowledge and skills needed for jobs, and industries that haven’t been created yet?  How do you prove that someone is resilient, and able to adapt to change? How do you get people to demonstrate and capture these skills?

These are just some of the questions that were raised at the recent TEDx Glasgow conference, where SQA led a lively Discussion Lab on the future of assessment.

As part of the programme of talks and labs delivered to over 1,700 delegates, SQA wanted to hear from attendees on their views about the future of assessment, asking them two specific questions:

  • How can we ensure the content of qualifications accurately reflects what employers, and society needs, now and in the future?
  • What are the best ways to collect and quality assure evidence of these capabilities so they have credibility and currency?

The ideas generated by the delegates at the Discussion Lab will feed into wider SQA work looking at what skills and knowledge learners will need in future and how these are assessed, and ensuring the approach taken best meets the needs of learners, employers, and society over the coming years.

Delegates considered a number of factors as part of their discussion, including the role of employers, industry, colleges, and universities as part of the development of new assessments; recognising informal, experiential learning; and allowing candidates to develop and articulate soft skills, including resilience, problem-solving and learning to learn through their qualifications.

Raymond O’Hare, Director of OCSolutions, and a member of SQA’s Board of Management, led the session and introduced delegates to the discussion points.

Speaking after the lab, Raymond said: “SQA is using this Discussion Lab to demonstrate that we are seriously looking at the future of qualifications and assessment, and how we blend new developments in technology and assessment methodologies, with the need to maintain the credibility and value of our qualifications. We have to make sure that our qualifications, and the way we assess them keep pace with modern requirements, which in turn will mean candidates are better equipped to make a positive contribution.”

Martyn Ware, Head of Assessment Futures, said: “We want to use sessions like this one at TEDx Glasgow to help shape our thinking about what qualifications and assessments are going to look like in the future. We’ve got an opportunity to get on the front foot, engage with new ideas, and hear from as wide a range of perspectives as possible. We will consider these ideas and discussions as we work to shape our assessments and qualifications so they continue to meet the needs of learners and society in the future."

If you want to contribute to the conversation about the future of assessment, follow @SQAnews on Twitter, and use #SQAfutures.