‘Can the soul of a man be trapped in the body of a woman and vice versa?’

This was one of the questions challenging the audience at last Friday’s TEDx Glasgow. Adam Kashmiry’s passionate exploration of how we construct our understanding of ourselves and those around us sat alongside talks on topics as diverse as new theories on the dark universe, the role anger and other emotions can play in undermining our wellbeing, development of …

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‘Risk and Reward: How do we deliver the benefits of e-assessment?’

This question was the theme of the 16th Annual e-Assessment Question conference held recently in London. SQA attended the conference as it has for a number of years to hear about latest developments in e-assessment from speakers from a wide range of backgrounds. All of this helps to inform our thinking about future directions for our own assessments. This year we were grateful for the opportunity to present together with John Winkley, Director of AlphaPlus, on the Assessment Expert Group meeting we held in London last June and reported on in our blog post of 12 July. Using the title of ‘Assessment Futures – Seeking to develop a consensus’, we explained the key themes for the future of assessment identified by the Group and invited feedback on whether others shared their views.

Whilst there are always some common themes at the conference, it also provides an opportunity to hear views on new and emerging technologies that could support assessment. This year this technology was blockchain. A very informative and thought-provoking session focused on the bold step taken by Malta which has reportedly become the first country to put educational records on the blockchain at scale. Their experience will be watched very closely for what it tells us about the potential of blockchain to underpin educational certification more widely.

The Conference also acts as the focus for the annual e-Assessment Awards organised by the UK’s eAssessment Association. SQA was delighted to sponsor the summative assessment award which was collected by the International Baccalaureate (IB) for its work on e-assessment for its Middle Years Programme. The approach taken by the IB has aimed to enhance the validity of its assessments through combining on-screen assessment in a range of subject areas with evidence gathering using an e-portfolio tool. The IB’s work provides a very useful case study for anyone involved in the development and implementation of new assessment approaches.

Closer to home, over the next couple of weeks we will be taking the findings from our Assessment Futures work to date to the series of SQA Co-ordinator Conferences which starts this Thursday in Inverness. We hope to see some of you there and look forward to hearing your views.

TEDx returns to Glasgow

On Friday 01 June TEDx Glasgow returns to the SEC in Glasgow, and for the first time, a new standalone event TEDxYouth@Glasgow will showcase the amazing talents of young people in Scotland.

If you can’t make it to Glasgow on Thursday 31 May for TEDxYouth@Glasgow, check out how to register for the live stream of the whole event here for free.

TEDx Glasgow 2017 was a major stepping stone for us last year as …

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Young Scot Ideas Gathering session

“A really good way to impact exams for future students.”

That was the view of one of the young people who formed part of Young Scot’s Assessment Futures Vision Panel and who attended the Ideas Gathering session with SQA on 28 March.

This session, was led and facilitated by the young people from across the county, and formed a key …

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‘Qualifications ecosystems need to pre-emptively disrupt from within or risk being unprepared for digital transformation.’

Since my last post we have had some great opportunities to gather further views to help inform our thinking about the future of assessment. The soundbite heading up this post was taken from ‘The Digitisation Agenda – Re-thinking the Role of Qualifications and Skills’ conference, organised by Quality and Qualifications Ireland on 24 October.

The starkness of the challenge presented in the …

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That’s the summer over…….

Well that’s the summer over (it was on a Thursday afternoon for us here Scotland this year) and we’re getting down to work on the next phase of our work on the future of assessment.

As my earlier posts reflected, we achieved a lot in June including our TEDx workshop and Assessment Expert Group meeting. Through these and a range of other activities we gathered some great feedback and views on the key factors that will influence the future of assessment. Over the past couple of months I have been busy digesting, synthesising and organising this feedback into a form that allows the team here to understand its implications for SQA. This marks the end of our Discovery Phase.

Our attention is now turning the next phase of work in which we will use the views gathered to date to help anticipate and plan for future learner needs. We plan to approach this by developing user stories which will articulate how our customers will expect to experience assessment in future. This work will involve a combination of internal workshops and further engagement with experts outside SQA who can sense check and inform our thinking.

Whilst this work is underway we will be continuing to seek views on the future of assessment in a number of ways. Just coming to …

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Assessment Expert Group meeting, Thu 29 Jun 2017 – Summary of outcomes

In my 10 July post, I reported that the Assessment Expert Group, we had set up with AlphaPlus had met. I now want to share some of the outcomes of the day with you.

The first task the group members were asked to undertake, was to deliver a 5 minute ‘elevator pitch’ focused on what they saw as the key issue, challenge or opportunity for assessment …

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Future of Assessment – what did TEDx Glasgow delegates think?

In my 29 June post I mentioned that we had hosted a Lab at TEDx Glasgow, as part of the information gathering phase of this project.

The Lab title was ‘What does a good one look like? Recognising the skills we need to succeed’, and it generated a rich and wide-ranging discussion with some interesting ideas and comments. We have now …

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Assessment Expert Group

In my 29 June post, I mentioned that we were working with the respected education consultants, Alpha Plus, to arrange a meeting of an ‘Assessment Expert Group’ comprising of experts in assessment, and leaders in digital technology and data science in education.

The group’s insights and collective experience will help us discover the approaches we need to adopt when developing …

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Future of Assessment – Discovery and Definition

SQA is taking a significant further step in determining the role we can play in helping to define the future of assessment.

Working together with respected education consultants, Alpha Plus, we have arranged a meeting of an ‘Assessment Expert Group’ comprising of experts in assessment, and leaders in digital technology and data science in education.

The obvious question is why …

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