Covid-19 is catalyst for e-assessment sector

The event explored how Covid-19 has disrupted teaching, learning and traditional assessment approaches among educators.

“Exams, remote proctoring, digital platforms, they’ve all sort of got conflated”

“Exams, remote proctoring, digital platforms, they’ve all sort of got conflated,” Ishan Kolhatkar, general manager of online assessment company Inspera explained.

“We are a digital platform, which means that we can do all forms of assessment, not just exams,” he said.

“We can do them in all sorts of ways, not just with people at home doing them remotely, but also on site as well. So you can do lots of types of assessments in lots of different places, in lots of different ways.”

Kolhatkar said that when the pandemic hit and locked people down across various parts of the world many institutions were just about to assess or just thinking about assessing. 

“So while they almost had to pivot immediately to getting the rest of their teaching done, and that took a huge amount of effort, it left very little time to then think about… assessment as well,” he said. 

The importance of pivoting not only to online modes of education but also assessment was highlighted by the webinar’s panel of experts. 

Julie Sanchez, UNM director of the office of assessment explained that assessment is a key part of course design. 

“These are not two separate relationships or separate entities. We don’t have 100% buy in on that,” she said.  

Delegates heard that using e-assessment can also better prepare students for the workplace. 

“It’s about trying to make an assessment method which is motivating, which is realistic, which is the sort of thing that they will face when they go into the job market,” said Deveral Capps, dean of Leeds Law School, Leeds Beckett University.

“They’re hopefully able to do the job better because they’ve already used some of the things that they are then going to be putting into it to play.”

The question of cheating in e-assessment was discussed during the webinar, with Kolhatkar suggesting that there needs to be a re-think of which questions are asked during assessments. 

The perception is that students are using other resources. They’re using the internet, they’re using their own notes. Well, you know what? I think we need to write different assessments.

“I think that the fact is, if what we’re doing is promoting them, using resources to answer the questions, then it might make you realise that some or all of your questions require them to memorise information. 

“That is a skill, I don’t denigrate it, but I would put it far lower than application of their knowledge. 

“So actually, if the question is rewritten so that they have to apply their knowledge, then does it matter whether they can get to those resources?” he said.

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