Making online maths accessible to disabled students – issues and lessons from the Open University’s experience

On 21st February 2011, I gave a presentation to the Maths, Statistics and Operational Research (MSOR) Network, which is one of the 24 Subject Centres supported by the Higher Education Academy. It was on how to make mathematics online accessible to disabled students. This blog post summarizes the issues presented. The presentation and the blog post draws on experiences over the last 5 years or so at the Open University in seeking to address this challenge and I acknowledge with thanks my colleagues Tim Lowe and Jonathan Fine in helping me to compile those.

What is different about maths?
In written English it is the linear order of letters that conveys meaning. In Maths it is the 2 dimensional relative positioning of symbols, their relative sizes etc., that codes meaning. Maths is a symbolic language whose representation aids its manipulation. Examples of this are the way we readily cancel identical terms in algebraic equation, or the mantra I learnt at school for simple differentiation: “bring the power to the front and reduce the power by one” which soon becomes visualized around the symbolic representation.

This facilitation may or may not be persevered in alternative representations intended for disabled people; if not to what consequence? Because of this symbolic nature Maths raises additional issues when presented online in a learning context than an alphabetic language.

Maths issues across a process
How Maths is encoded is a web resource is only part of the challenge there are lots of interrelated issues from the facts that:

  • The Maths needs to be authored by lecturers and different tools are available for this
  • As well as the standard encoding in “main resource” in a VLE or other Web resource transformation to alternative formats will be required to meet the needs of some disabled students
  • How the Maths is presented to the student depends on browser renderings (which vary) and client-side transforms e.g. speech synthesizer with refreshable Braille display
  • Students need to be able to interact with the Maths not just passively read it; they need to copy it into documents, manipulate it and then communicate it with their tutors
  • This student/tutor interaction may have to be facilitated by online communication in the symbolic language of Maths
  • The challenges of Math need to be address in formative and summative assessments too

Issues of Encoding
Which way of encoding maths in a web page is most accessible? There is no one simple answer to this question! There are two major options:

  • Images with alt-text descriptions
  • Specialised maths mark-up – MathML

Encoding as images
With Maths encoded as images (e.g. generated from LaTeX) it is possible to implement the technology so that these images can be enlarged and colours changed; key access techniques for some visually impaired people and some with dyslexia. For those who can not see sufficiently Alt-Texts to such images are a possible solution but for simple maths only. Alt-Texts can be transformed to speech or Braille but this can be problematic and creating suitable Alt-Texts is not easy for complex expressions.

Encoding as MathML
MathML is an XML based mark-up language. There are two forms of MathML: Presentation Mark-up (how the mathematics should look) and Content Mark-up (which describes the semantics). The standard allows these to be used individually or in combination. Some of the accessibility advances of MathML derive from Presentation Mark-up some from Content Mark-up. However Presentation Mark-up alone is most commonly used and this restricts the potential accessibility advantages

Issues of Presentation
Where someone is not able to access the normal Maths presentation there are two possible tactics:

  • Transform the visual representation into a form that can be accessed, or
  • Provide an alternative means of accessing the underlying semantics (meaning)

Presentation to the student (or any user) is dependent on: the underlying coding of the Maths in the web resource; transformations made server-side (at the University) and how the browser interprets that code (inc. plug-ins). Transformations may also be made client-side (by the students’ computer and/or assistive technology).

Note on Maths & Braille
Braille is important to some visually impaired learners but <15% UK blind people (all ages) are competent Braille users. Some blind mathematicians extensively use maths Braille although a small percentage of blind people ever learn this. There are numerous variations in the way maths is encoded in the Braille schemes of different countries. Firstly English as represented in the Braille codes of the UK and the USA, for example, differ considerably; then UK Maths Braille differs from Nemeth Code commonly used in the USA and Marburg used in Germanic countries. Alt-texts of Maths expressions rendered as Braille by a screenreader and refreshable Braille display are not expressions in Maths Braille but Braille equivalents of the English descriptions of the Maths. A University’s response to the needs of Maths Braille users If a students preferred way of interaction with maths is through Maths Braille all reasonable steps should be made by the educational establishment to accommodate this. The Open University uses specialist external transcription agencies for this for course texts. However online presentation can be more challenging; e.g. in some formative assessments mathematical expressions are parameterised differently on each visit by the student. It can be difficult to accommodate the needs of Maths Braille users in such circumstances depending on implementation.

Issues of Interaction
Maths presented online is not to be just passively read. Students need to interact with and manipulate the Maths. They may need to:

  • Copy it into documents
  • Import it into maths engines (Mathematica, Maple, etc.)
  • Exchange maths expressions with tutors and peers in forums, e-mails, etc,

Issues of Pedagogy
Mathematics is used differently in different contexts. For example compare level 3 Maths course with the basic calculations in an introduction to social-science course. What learning path are we a seeking to take the student through over their period of study? For the disabled student this might include a transition in the way they interact with mathematics. There is a long asked question here: how do people learn. In this case the question is made more complex by the secondary question: how do different presentations of Maths affect the learning? Don’t forget assessment! Techniques students use in their learning must be available in their assessments both summative and formative.

Current Practice at the OU
The Maths department normally writes courses in TeX; however other departments/faculties vary and includes the use the Equation Editor for Word. For long texts PDFs are produced with figure descriptions. Audio descriptions maybe recorded e.g. as for MU123 (pre-calculus basic level maths) ~ 3,500 students / year. The VLE program (2005-2008) produced a MathML filter – if MathML there it can be displayed. Graphics presentation or access to MathML is selected as a user option.

Browser Issues – Issues of Support for the OU
[This section updated following personal communication from Paul Topping, President and CEO, Design Science, Inc.]
There can be problems for a student setting up for MathML (different browser issues). IE requires a plug-in from Design Science called MathPlayer (they are currently developing the plug-in for I.E. 9.0). Firefox does not support MathML in HTML but does support it in XHTML.  Chrome, Safari and Opera web browsers support MathML natively (however there are some version and consistency of display issues). This presents an IT support challenge so for this reason the OU-VLE defaults to displaying images.

MathML in the OU-VLE
User’s can select if Images or MathML presented; if the former the VLE converts MathML to an image. We are trying to improve image quality resulting from this process. VLE user settings cover size and colour contrast preferences. However these approaches still not used a great deal but students – but also not been widely promoted. There has only been 1 presentation of introductory course MU123 so far. We don’t really know how helpful these approaches are being to disabled students. Some non-disabled people using image enlargement (picked up from forums) others have discovered that TeX within $$ $$ is rendered by Moodle (this is a Moodle feature not turned off – but not advertised).

What the OU is seeking to move towards
We want to get things on VLE in more interactive fashion and to more easily manage student choices of what presentations best suit them. There are usability issues we want to address; e.g. when in a quiz radio buttons are displayed next to a MathML rendered expression it is easy to click on expression which produces and enlargement instead of selecting the radio button, this is due to Design Science plug-in feature. We also want to overcome current problem some delay when loading multiple images.

Outstanding Issues
What format should be specified as the base format maths should be stored in before transformation to other formats as required? – Some argue for MathML others TeX What are the best authoring tools to offer academics that need to write courses containing Maths? MathML only currently only used on a few courses so we have had limited experience with it. We don’t know enough about the users! – This is a planned subject for future research. A new course M347 Mathematical statistics will be making substantial use of MathML. It is the first upper level Maths course to be presented on VLE only – first presentation due Feb 2012. It will be a crucial course for institutional learning – we will know a lot more in 1-2 years!

Unresolved dilemmas
There are issues of how to meet disabled students needs without reducing quality for the rest. E.g. where MathML used > 95% of students not receiving benefits of MathML – and receive arguably poorer visual rendering of the maths but no complaints about this have been received. There is the possibility of supplementing MathML with an images supplied from original TeX.

There are curriculum issues, of “graduateness”:
Shouldn’t all maths graduates be able to produce nicely formatted printed Maths, therefore should we teach TeX/LaTeX)? Further should mathematical notation itself be part of the curriculum? – E.g. tree structures, order of operations, etc.

Concluding comment
Making mathematics fully accessible to a diversity of people in online learning is not a solved problem. Nor are the options for presenting maths online generally optimally resolved. However it is clear that one solution will not suit all users and contexts and thus flexibility is key!

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Confidence in eAssessment

I am currently attending the IMS Learning Impact conference in Long Beach, California (http://www.imsglobal.org/learningimpact2010/).  I attended a presentation by Jeff Borden of Pearson eCollege who introduced (to me) the concept of confidence in assessment which is particularly pertinent to eAssessment.

Top Left = Misinformation; Bottom Left = Uninformed; Top Right = Mastery; Bottom Right = Doubt
Confidence in eAssessment Matrix

The confidence matrix is shown left.  It is I think self-explanatory but to expand on the idea I comment here on each cell.  If a student gives a wrong answer with a low-level of confidence they are in the “Uninformed” category.  However if they give a wrong answer but believe they are right then they are classified as “Misinformed”.  If they give a correct answer but with a low-level of confidence they fall into the “Doubt” category whereas if they are correct with a high level of confidence they are in the “Mastery” category.

I consider that this approach has the potential to greatly improve the validity and utility of eAssessments where students select from a limited number of possible answers.  If as well as giving their selected answer students are asked to give a confidence level the effect of random chance selection of the right answer is reduced and the assessor is given more meaningful information about the students knowledge.

Reflecting on this I consider a 3 point confidence scale (High, Medium, Low) would probably be optimal so that for each question the student would register one of those values to indicate their confidence in their selected answer.  There are many options for how the matrix is applied.  It could be on a question by question basis but is more likely to be useful if aggregated, by some algorithm, over a set of questions on a related topic.

I would be happy to receive any comments but particularly from anyone who has experience of using such an approach in real assessments.

Notes from “The eAssessment Question 2010” conference

This post will be updated after each conference presentation and thus constitute a near live-blog.

Dates: 17-18 March 2010

Conference web site: http://www.e-assess.co.uk/

Twitter hash tag: #eaqconf

Notes against Agenda

Developing Innovative, Reliable and Robust Solutions

Day One 17th March 2010

Opening Plenary Session, Chair: Colin Deal, Examware

Opening Key Note Address and responses will look at the strategic and policy issues underpinning the expansion of e-Assessment and the impact of technology and the need ensure robustness and reliability in e-Assessment delivery

[Apology to speakers and readers but I was late arriving due to overcrowding on the Tube and the conference centre been marked wrongly on map provided! – Whinge over.]

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Highlight notes:

Simon Lebus, Group Chief Executive, Cambridge Assessment

  • Shift from summative to formative assessments largely facilitated by technology revolution – e.g. huge data storage cheap and analysis increasingly easy.
  • Developments in machine language recognition – particular benefits for language teaching
  • How foster trust in key stakeholders?
    • “Sat Nav assessment for …. (I think this phrase referred to technological hand-holding)
  • Children increasingly difficult to motivate by traditional teaching because of there expectations given there experience of technology in their day to day lives
  • Books are still are heart of education but students see books as peripheral
  • Public Confidence – contrast between education and professional domains
    – eAssessment widely used in safety critical professional training, e.g. medicine, aviation, emergency services; why if respect it there not in school education
    – Comment from floor in the current professional areas where there his good penetration of eAssessment largely teaching defined processes
  • Goal must be educational enhancement not overcoming weaknesses and staffing issues in current exam system
  • Respect diverse nature and purposes of education assessment (EU taxonomy 40 different functions REF?)
  • Need to develop the research base (As  researcher I say here, here!)
  • Be ambitious but not necessary to find “big bang” instead a series of incremental enhancements

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John Winkley, Alphaplus Consulting (and Gavin ????)

Impact of Policy on Assessment:

  • Functional skills and eAssessment (spans professions and education domains)
  • Law of unintentional consequences
    – e.g. does a survey constitute a service for DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) – hoping to save costs by not addressing accessibility!  DDA Advisors asked were unsure. [MC took exception that they were seeking to by-pass accessibility]
  • Drivers for eAssessment:
    – economies of scale
    -authentic working environment for many students
    – transformation of education/learning environment
  • Need to design eAssessments integrated with learning/curriculum design to avoid law of unintended consequences (examples given but not noted here)

[Note-taking suspended because not core to my interests but plan to challenge the DDA example when it comes to questions! Pushed my buttons!!!] – “Come and see me at the break – apologise if given wrong impression.”

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Professor Philip John, Heriot Watt University

“Innovations in mathematics eAssessment”

Celebrating 10th Anniversary of “Scholar” in Scotland

  • Responding to no expectations of students
    – web first port of call for almost everything
    – they are pragmatic not in awe of technology
    – find it strange when exposed to e-learning content and the have to take a hand-written exam
  • Scholar: A new generation of Students / Innovation – context:
    – league tables / national student survey
    – student expectations
    – what about the teachers?
    -large scale
  • Need to move away from eAssessment being synonymous with multiple choice
  • Wanted a seamless transition to summative assessment

Work in Mathematics:

  • Seamless transition – “exam” practice not a dirty word
  • Instant Feedback to students
  • Exploratory activity
  • [The mathematics modules in the Scholar system system was demonstrated on screen]

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e-Enabling Assessment and Learning

[This session not blogged because I was involved in extensive and constructive conversation with John Winkley,  Director: AlphaPlus, following up on the accessibility exchange reported above.]

There are many issues underpinning the expansion of e-Assessment and its role in learning, training, teaching and qualification development. This session examines those issues from standards to technological challenges.

    Bob Gomersall, Chair, BTL

    Denis Saunders, MD and Founder, Calibrand

    Graham Hudson, DRS, ‘QA and regulatory implications of scanning’

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Mobile Telephony, Learning and Assessment Session and Workshop

Convergent technologies and the growth of mobile telephony presents us with some of the most innovative and exciting developments in e-Assessment. This session will look at those developments and provide a hands-on workshop approach to using these emerging technologies

Gavin Cooney, MD, Learnosity

Fun interactive demo in the room of interactive peer-peer student assessment activities! [Impossible to blog – you have to be here!]

High-stakes summative assessment:

  • Again unintended consequences if key issues aren’t addressed:
    – must be an authentic measure – what trying to assess/measure
    -must withstand scrutiny
    – must be scalable and sustainable (many past projects have failed on this account)
    – must have market value (currency) – students looking to trade outcomes for entry into futher education or work
  • Evaluation model (how move from potential to application):
    – Technology opportunity
    – Assessment domain
    – Evidence trail (scrutiny) – automated or human judgements
    – operational viability (if address this before above can lead to short term gains only)
  • “Validity + Reliability x Viability = Value”
    Stuart Jones, Abel Consulting

    [This presentation not blogged.  Lost Internet.  Concerned use of mobiles devices (e.g. iPhone) for assessments.  Example of driving licence theory test.]

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Innovation and People

The conference is about innovation and this final session of the day will examine some of the current leading edge projects; those pushing the boundaries of development, challenging old thinking and opening new areas of assessment and work.

    Bryan Mathers, MD, Learning Assistant, ‘Maintaining QA in e-portfolios usage’

[This presentation not blogged.  Quality Assurance in ePortfolios is not relevant to my role.  However if anyone is interested in accessibility of ePortfolios and standards that underpin this please e-mail me as I have been working with a colleague Andy Heath on this for the last 5 years of so:  m.cooper@open.ac.uk]

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Linda Steedman MD, eCOM, ‘High Stakes Assessment is it worth the gamble”

Lessons learnt in high stakes assessment:

  • If is can happen it will! – e.g. forgotten passwords, fire alarms going off mid exam, …
  • Need immediate access to high quality technical support
  • Must be able to prove how authentic assessment is – audit trains, validated questions, comprehensive analytics, etc.
  • Expect appeals (cultural change) – must be able to produce script from system to evidence what was done by student
  • Continuous improvement is required, e.g. frequent reviews of question banks
  • Prepare the learners before the exam –  mocks, communications, etc.
  • Housekeeping important, e.g. mapping of students to PCs
  • All borderline fails must be checked
  • Have good back-up
  • Choose a good IT provider
  • Why take the gamble now?
    – Technology advances
    – more technically savvy students
    – improvements in instructional design
    – students want immediate results
    – cost savings due to computer support for assessment admin.
    IF above lessons followed successful implementation now possible

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Mike Dearing and Andrew Stone, C&G, ‘Simulations: a case study of City & Guilds’ newest assessment’

A case study – Simulations:

    • Not leading edge
    • Why simulations? Expand on multiple-choice type assessments
    • Simulations here were to realise a realist IT based solution for the assessment context
    • Scenario based
    • Generic
    • Simple – easily understood by students
    • Engaged company called BTL
    • Integrates to Pearson Platform
    • Pitch to largest audience (choose word-processing/spreadsheets)

Challenges:

  • Fitness for purpose
    – meet C&G’s principles of assessment
  • Must provide adequate practice facilities
  • Vendor neutral
  • Assessing specific software disadvantages
  • Keyboard short-cuts
  • Hoe can assess open ended tasks

What happens next:

  • Embedding
  • Other IT units
  • Function skills ICT
  • Other vocational areas

(I don’t get this – why simulate a propitiatory software? – Will ask the question! – apparently because they wanted to be  be generic but they have not implements functional metrics into their system so not leveraging assessment advantages of developing their own approach.)

(I also raised the issue of keyboard short cuts for accessibility reasons – the reply there was paper based assessments as accessible alternatives.  THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE – IMHO)

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Prof. Cliff Beevers ‘Update on development of the e-Assessment Association’

History:

Started in 2005 after feasibility study by the exam boards

Aims to promote effective eAssessment

Influence education thinking and policy

  • Objectives:
    • Build up support for those in the field
    • Communication Positive Aspects of eAssessment
    • On stop shop for eAssessment information

News:

  • E-journal appearing later this summer
  • Established set of independent experts

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The 2010 AGM of the e-Assessment Association will be held at the end of day one sessions

[Not blogged, minutes to be published by eAA]

eaa logo with name from oct 09 150x96

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Day Two 18th March 2010

Quality, Transparency and Accountability in e-Assessment

Chair Comment – eAssessment no mainstream in formative assessment to day we her more about the challenge in “Hight Stakes” summative assessment

With plenary addresses from Ofqual’s head of regulation policy and AQA main board member this opening day two plenary sessions will look at the impact of e-Assessment on high stakes qualifications, their development and delivery and how they link to classroom and workplace learning.

Julie Swan, Head of Regulatory Policy, Ofqual

  • Independent regulators but not a Ministerial Dept. so can challenge Ministers where necessary
  • Regulation awarding organisations not individual courses/assessments
  • Promoting regulated qualifications
  • Ensure regulated qualifications give reliable assessment and consistent over time
  • No distinction between general and vocational qualifications
  • Public confidence very important – there they have an objective to actively promote that
  • Efficiency objective key – value for money, promoting competition in the sector
  • Promote and assure accessibility in assessment
  • Understand the learner perspective[Video of interviews with students]
  • Technology is second nature for today’s learners
  • Can’t put eAssessment in the “too difficult” pile
  • Ofqual – to promote innovation in eAssessment
  • Bring about improvements (not just much current standards) – addressing the benefits
  • Promote close related working with other organisations like BECTA
  • Drivers for innovations
    – efficiency (they will assess this)
    – demand
    – quality
    – learners needs including accessibility
    – the regulator by “nudging” (regulator can block innovation usually by myths and false perceptions)
  • Risks – need to demonstrate improving standards – need to be open and transparent
  • Don’t regulate schools
  • On demand testing – “chicken and egg” situation – concern from established professions

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Ruth Goddard, Director, AQA

“Protecting the past or engaging with the future” An awarding body view point

Change:

  • Last at conference 4 years ago and things have changed rapidly since then!
  • Students today depend too much on ink.  Pen and ink will never replace the pencil. 1907
  • Ballpoint pens will be the ruin of education in our country.  Students use these devices and then throw them away. 1950
  • You can’t use those calculators on the test.  If I let you do that, you wouldn’t ever learn how to do tables. 1980
  • Why would you ever want the Internet for student use?  It’s just the latest fad, have them use the library 1995
  • I don’t think most parents will buy their kids a new computer 2000
      • Schools have a responsibility to prepare young people for the world they are going to inhabit and not the one of the past.

        Mark Steed, Principal, Berkhamsted School

  • What the learners say about eAssessment
    –  “It was easier to understand and complete”
    –  “It was less complicated than written   papers”
    –  “We’re more into computers than writing on paper”
    –  “Can we do our exams like this again?”

  • What the teachers say about eAssessment
    –  “We very much enjoyed doing it – the kids were very keen!”
    –  “By doing it on screen, we felt we were raising our students’ achievements”
    –  “Students focus on line.  They use technology everyday and are comfortable with it.”
    –  “Students wanted to do the tests on-screen, so it was better motivation.”

  • Barriers or challenges – fears and preconceptions
    Dumbing down
    – Needing 200 PCs in one place
    – Risk of systems failure
    – Plagiarism
    – More work for teachers and exams officers
    – Lack of certainty

  • Technology enabled assessment must  be for learners!

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Martin Ripley, 21st Century Assessment

  • Apologies to Mark and readers  – I missed this presentation attending a Doctor’s appointment
    – they say I will lie a little longer 😉

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Developing Quality in e-Assessment

The challenge for e-Assessment is not just to maintain standards of quality but provide added value and improve both the delivery of assessments and the understanding and perception of those assessments.

    Peter Wilson, NIACE
    “How to promote quality in eAssessment”

  • If you can develop a good quality unit you can then develop a good assessment
  • Trends in QCF – reducing number of units per qualification and more and more shared units
  • Very few examples of credit transfers to date (liquidity)
  • In the interest of learners means making sure credits can be transfer; evidences don’t have to be repeated, etc.
  • Skills Funding Agency intends to aligned funding to credit (not guided learning hours) – provided credit system proves robust. No long have to prove how long students sitting in the class
  • eAssessment design has strong potential to support this shift

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Geoff Chapman – Director, Calibrand Leading a group presentation including contributions from:

Chris Hedges – Policy Manager, Home Office UK Border Agency

Matthew White – Test Operations Manager, UFI


    – “Fit for Purpose Technology – delivering the Life in the UK test.”

[This talk is not blogged in detail]

  • Mainstream UK press very sensitive to developments and failing in eAssessment / Similarly immigration issues
  • Context of citizenship – this is a high stakes assessment for most candidates
  • Requirement for Language since 1664 (Norman French) – since 1948 requirement for English Language
  • 200,000 applications / year

Concluding Summary of Highlights:

  • Security (of exam, of centre, or residency)
  • Robustness
  • Fairness and Accessibility to those with no IT skills and little educational backgrounds
  • Fit for Purpose (does test accurately reflect the handbook~)
  • Mainstream High Stakes Large-Scale eAssessment
  • Emotions are mainstream around this as well
  • Aspirational aspect
  • Allow people to perform to the best of their ability
  • Dynamism
  • Conform to learner

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John Winkley, Alphaplus Consulting

“Quality improvement in eAssessment”

  • Based on work for JISC
  • In HE most concerns are about insuring the basics (REAQ project University of Southampton:  www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/research/projects/619)
  • Over 100,000 items in question banks typical
  • Many professions in the field not comfortable with Data
  • Large banks of data and small number of people shepherding that data
  • Classical matrix provide good indicators where to target
  • Automatic metadata to metrics to improve assessment processing
  • Reading level of questions (established computer technology to assess this)
  • Aim to target 20% that give most problems
  • Learn to love data
  • Reasons for changing the paradigm in Assessment
    – Modularisation
    – Item Response Theory (difficult stuff but must be done)
    – Adaptive assessment depends on good data
  • Schools are now ready for eAssessment

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The Value of e-portfolios in Assessment and Learning – eScape Workshop

eScape is one of the most exciting projects in e-portfolio and e-assessment development. In this extended session we will try to put such developments into the context of using technology to provide more effective, fit-for-purpose and robust 21st century assessment and give delegates the opportunity to see the technology in action.

Richard Kimbell, Goldsmiths College, University of London – Matt Wingfield and members of the TAG Development eScape Team

Susan McLaren, University of Edinburgh ‘The Scottish Experience with eScape’
Dale Hinch, Edexcel

    [I am not attempting to live-blog this because it is a highly interactive workshop session.  To my view the eScape e-portfolio system is a very high quality pedagogically rich ePortfolio tool and suggest you review it if looking for such a  system for your institution.]

  • Misfit statistic – measure of how closely each judge conforms to the judgement of the multiplicity of judges. [c.f. SSAA]
  • The challenge of dyslexia in ePortfolios when they focus on write evidence of learning – the multi-modal comment content aspect of the eScape system can can be used to address that to some degree
  • Students tend to have a high level trust of the software more than keep paper portfolios

Edexcel Pilot:

  • Creative and Media Diploma (student need to collect a large amount of evidence)
  • Do the hard things first in the project then most things easy afterwards
  • eScape approach a natural fit
    – previously many ePortfolios imposed extensive restrictions in terms of software, media types and files sizes on what the student can use as evidence
    – tagging of evidence to learning objectives
    – on-line storage – easy to manage technically and more secure
    – intuitive interface
    – Platform independent
    – Constructs a strong narrative within the evidence
  • Task Creation tool gives teacher flexibility and enthuses them
  • Students can collect high quality evidence of many different forms
    – positive experience for teachers and students stimulates effective learning
  • Task Creation -> ….. [iterative cycle]
  • Continuing to work with pilot centres
  • Marking and Moderation
  • Exploring a range of qualification type:
    -GCSE
    Functional skills
    English, ICT, D&T
  • Diploma Pilot Running to summer 2011

We have spent 7 years of out lives doing it – proud of achievements

Additional Note by Martyn Cooper:

Andy Heath and I, at the Open University, have been looking for the last 5 years at accessibility issues in e-Portfolios.  The fact that an ePortfolio system is unusally a many authors to a few reader system with non professional authors presents some chalanged here.  If you want to know more about this work please e-mail me: m.cooper@open.ac.uk.

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Closing remarks from Chair

  • Thanks and goodbye

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End