A far-reaching vision of the future of assessment in higher education is poised to be developed by a new advisory board, involving the award-winning digital exams expertise of Brunel University London's Professor Mariann Rand-Weaver.
The potential of digital technology in summative assessment (where students’ knowledge is assessed at the end of a course) has long been recognised, but practical impact is limited to pockets of good practice. The reasons are many and varied, including the high-stakes nature of exams, infrastructure requirements and logistics of scaling implementation. These issues are particularly pertinent for distance learning and for transnational education programmes, which involve students who are based in one country and who study for a degree awarded by a university in another country.
From this month until next spring, the advisory board, convened on behalf of Emerge Education and Jisc, will develop a specification for what assessment should look like in 10 years' time, explore existing solutions and identify practical steps that can be taken to support institutions and governments in making that vision a reality.
Chaired by Chris Cobb, the University of London's Pro-Vice Chancellor (Operations) and Chief Operating Officer, the board will harness expertise from across the higher education sector. Professor Rand-Weaver, Brunel's Vice Provost (Education), has worked with staff across the university since 2015 to roll out the sector-leading Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) scheme, which enables students to use their own laptops to sit exams – rewarded by a prestigious Advance HE Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) this year.
"I am honoured to join this working group and to help define and guide a far-reaching programme of change," said Professor Rand-Weaver. "Technology should allow us to go beyond replicating pen-and-paper exams digitally, and our experience with the BYOD scheme at Brunel has shown how technology can be used to design authentic assessments that help prepare students for their careers.
"I look forward to sparking ideas with colleagues from across the sector, and creating solutions that will benefit students and the sector."
Professor Mariann Rand-Weaver
Joe Buchanunn, Media Relations
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