A brief but informative booklet has just been released by BECTA titled Messages from Evidence: Assessment using technology. A quick read of only 7 pages, the booklet works from the premise that technology has an important role to play in facilitating assessment for learning. For instance, technology can be used to administer a test and then link each learner to a suitable learning task, based on test results. (This is a key part of the design of e-asTTle, and other programmes such as Mathletics.) Also, using technology can help learners assess
each other’s work (blogs are commonly being used in this way at present, along with some custom developed software), and it can provide teachers with regular reports on the progress
of all learners (feedback within some LMSs and some SMS packages do this).
Early investigations, however, revealed that few teachers are making use of technology for assessment. This is, in part, because some teachers aren’t aware of the role technology can play in increasing the impact of their work with learners. Some teachers are not sure about what they should do with technology-enabled assessment information once they have it. (click the graphic to the right for a larger image)
The booklet identifies four key challenges for schools:
- using technology to integrate assessment into everyday learning
- getting hold of high quality assessmetn tools
- making assessment information available online, for example, for parents
- passing assessment information between institutions, for example at transition to secondary school.
The booklet then provides a number of succinct case studies as examples of what some schools are doing to address these challenges. If you’re looking for specific examples of assessment tools then you’ll need to look elsewhere – this leaflet is more of a high level monograph, painting the broader context for considering using technologies for assessment. The table on page 4 is particularly useful, and could be used at a staff meeting or at department level to begin thinking strategically about the ways assessment is currently being carried out and recorded, and the ways technologies (those that exist in the school already, and others that may be accessed online etc) can enable this to happen.
A handy weekend read, and sufficient stimulus in it to provoke thought and further action.