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Going digital: A guide to defining your institution’s objectives

Suzanna Doran
October 1, 2021

In the final post in the series about the steps to take when choosing an assessment platform for your institution, we’ll be looking at how to define your objectives. After reading the previous posts on reviewing your institution’s needs and comparing the products that are available, you can begin to dig deeper into what you want your digital assessment strategy to look like.

Now is the time to agree on some clear and realistic objectives that will benefit all parties within your institution. It’s beneficial to be ambitious at this stage, with the understanding that some compromises will need to be made later on in the process. Having already scoped out what is available in the marketplace will help your team establish a clear and viable plan.

To find out more, you can download our free guide which covers this process from start to finish.

Where does digitisation fit with your assessment strategy?

There are two potential routes to digitisation: you can either digitise what you have now or amend your strategy to account for digitisation. If you choose the former, you won’t need to change your strategy and your assessments will remain familiar to your stakeholders. However, this option is likely to result in more system requirements, training and support. 

On the other hand, although amending your strategy for digitisation may require more time and effort, you’re likely to see additional benefits. Perhaps most significantly, you will be able to harmonise assessment instruments across the institution and increase efficiency. Plus, you’re likely to see quicker adoption because you can streamline training and support. 

What you hope to achieve with digitisation

Once you’ve decided on the best route for your institution, it’s time to consider the benefits you’d like to see from an assessment platform. Some examples include:

  • Reducing the cost and administration associated with printing, delivery and collecting paper exams
  • Providing a more user-friendly test-taker experience;
  • Being able to create online assessments with question types that cater for all disciplines
  • Speeding up the marking process
  • Creating a more standardised assessment process across your institution
  • Ensuring a balance between security and privacy for candidates
  • Reducing the institution’s carbon footprint
  • Adding digital resilience to your assessment process
  • Making assessment more accessible for all students
  • Delivering assessments that better reflect the tasks that students will be required to complete in the workplace.

What should be digitised

While considering the benefits of online assessment, it’s important to consider a realistic scope for your digital assessment platform. Although your end goal may be to digitise all of your assessments, you may find that some assessments can’t be digitised immediately or that a single platform won’t meet all of your needs. For example, many digital assessment platforms allow you to digitise exams that would usually take place on paper. However, while digitising observational or practical assessments may technically be possible, you may need to consider if this should be in the same project phase as digitising pen and paper exams.

It’s also likely that there will be detractors who don’t want to move to digital assessment because they are accustomed to paper exams. It’s therefore important to think about what can and should be digitised and what should be exempt because of significant impracticality or technical impossibility.

To help you make the distinction between what should be digitised and what shouldn’t- or perhaps shouldn’t immediately- be digitised, you could consider the following:

1- How could your current assessments be replicated on screen?

2- Does it need to be replicated or will digital functionality allow for new ways of assessment?

3- What is the best way to assess a student given the functionality available?

4- What is the most authentic form of assessment?

After completing each of these steps, you’ll now be ready to begin consultations with your shortlist of assessment providers. If you’d like to read more about the whole selection process, with additional tips about consultations and work-groups, you can download the free guide to choosing the best assessment platform for your institution

Ready to get started? You can get in touch with our team to find out more about how Inspera can help you to transition to online assessment.

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