No longer can we say that digital technology is changing the education landscape, for it has already been transformed.
In August 2016, David Bainbridge, CEO of UK-based Knowledgemotion, published an article in TechCrunch titled “Edtech is the Next Fintech”. According to Bainbridge, a new education world has begun with investments in edtech set to reach over £194 billion by 2020.
The range of new learning now begins in early childhood and continues through the generations, where even toddlers can learn to code and retired baby-boomers looking to enhance their knowledge from the comfort of their own home can do so thanks to online distance learning courses. Students are using technology in various ways to learn: through tablets, computers, mobile phones and even via gamification. Online texts are replacing physical textbooks, and digital personalised courses give students the ability to learn and explore at their own pace.
The digital transformation hasn’t just happened in the classroom either, it has also transformed the world of education assessment.
In the UK, more than two-thirds of school leaver exams are now marked onscreen, and our e-marking system, RM Assessor, helps to deliver results to more than a million people in over 150 countries.
RM Assessor allows for scanned scripts, converted electronic files, rich multi-media (audiovisual), and candidate answers from computer-based exams, to be marked by examiners recruited by the awarding body. In effect, providing the quality of ‘human marking’ whilst utilising technology to streamline the process.
This flexibility has allowed for awarding bodies to reduce their exam lifecycle, and increase the frequency of exams. For instance, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) launched a project following the demands of students and employers to develop a new, more frequent, examination format that would test ‘real-life’ accountancy skills (i.e. working on computers):
“The use of RM Assessor within our assessment model has allowed us to modernise our internal processes and meet the needs of our students and employers across the globe.
We’re thrilled with the support that RM Results has given us to increase the frequency of our exam sessions and to enable e-marking of new question types more closely aligned with the daily work of the accountancy profession.”
~ Sarah Corcoran, Director of e-Transformation ACCA
The move to e-marking also means that physical barriers are now removed. No longer do exam scripts have to be transported from exam halls to awarding bodies, to examiners to moderators and then back to awarding bodies for the results to be delivered to the students. Now assessments can be marked in any secure location online, and at any time during the day.
The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) operates throughout the Caribbean islands, and their exam markers are spread across them. By implementing e-marking of its paper exams, CXC has been able to streamline their operations and increase efficiency as examiners are no longer having to travel to a centrally located marking facility, where many would spend weeks away from their families at additional costs. Rather the exam papers are scanned into RM Assessor and distributed digitally straight to the examiner to be marked.
Vanessa Ryan, a full-time single mother, chose to become a marker for CXC because it provided the flexibility to mark from home and meant that she didn’t have to find additional child-care:
“I had an option, and I chose e-marking as it was more convenient to me. With e-marking, because I’m a single parent, I was able to stay at home take care of my responsibility as a parent and still be able to make and earn a living.”
There’s no denying that the use of technology has helped expand the world of education assessment, and with over ten years in the industry RM Results can attest to its growth. E-marking has helped awarding bodies increase their reach, and flexibility whilst still providing the expert marking that can only be given by those who live and breathe education.
Discover how else the UK is shaping the education technology industry by following the hashtag #UKEdtech on Twitter all throughout this week (w/c 29 May).