InsperaRedesigning assessment for the digital era

Redesigning assessment for the digital era

How digital tools can revolutionise assessment and complement hybrid learning

Digital tools are changing the way higher education delivers its teaching, offering more flexible, blended models of in-person and online learning. But can they similarly transform how the industry looks at assessment? Ishan Kolhatkar, UK general manager of Inspera Assessment, believes so.

Speaking at a session at the THE World Academic Summit, hosted in partnership with Inspera, Kolhatkar described how the landscape of assessment was changing. The closed-book, pen-and-paper examination might still be valid, but there are alternative models with the potential to enhance the student experience.

“We don’t all necessarily benefit from the same sort of assessment,” he said. “I would have very much welcomed the opportunity to be assessed via an oral exam rather than writing stuff down…Digital tools open up that possibility.”

With the roll-out of any new technology, the change is as much about culture as it is about technology. With the past 18 months of Covid-19 restrictions accelerating the industry’s digital transformation, student expectations have changed.

“It is the same movement that we are seeing in work life,” said Bjørn Rustberggaard, Inspera’s founder and CEO. “Many of us are not going back to sitting in the office day in, day out. We are blending our work and our private life to optimise time in a better way, and the students, they will demand the same thing.”

This flexibility is not just a question of efficiency or convenience. As Rustberggaard noted, more flexible assessment models can be more accessible, catering for students with parental or work commitments. While digital assessment requires careful management to ensure that all students have access to the materials they require – such as laptops, internet access and technical support – the benefits can be considerable. Not only can assessments be tailored to the student, but digital tools allow for innovative modes of assessment that may well prove more effective for the subject being taught.

“It’s a chance to really assess what is necessary in your assessment world,” said Kolhatkar. “It’s the idea that the assessment journey and the assessment itself evolves with the times, and that you use the digital revolution in assessment to improve what you do and not necessarily just say, ‘I’m going to put the same thing that I’ve always done into a digital format’.”

Watch the session on demand above or on the THE Connect YouTube channel.

Find out more about Inspera and higher education.

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