Millennials are now well and truly established within the workforce, statistically making up the majority of American employees[1]. So shouldn’t we be listening to them more and meeting their needs?

The millennial generation is defined as those born between the years 1981 and 1996[2]. They are the generation who, we are told, like socialism, killed the American Dream, and hate working 9-5.

Now, they are the largest living generation[3] – even bigger than Baby Boomers – and they are demanding that their needs be met.

Studies over the past decade show that millennial workers want a working life that is balanced and, more importantly, flexible. They are less fussed about keeping their working life and private life separate compared to previous generations and thanks to the power of technology, they are able to work whenever and wherever they want, creating a more harmonious (when done right) work-life integration.

This desire for flexibility through the use of digital technologies is trickling into other areas of their lives, including how they wish to be educated and assessed.

Harnessing the power of technology in assessment to improve flexibility

Research and consultations carried out by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) identified a growing demand for assessment to better reflect the use of technology in the workplace. This prompted the team at ICAEW, with the help of RM Results, to move their professional Chartered Accountancy exams (ACA qualifications) from paper-based delivery to a computer-based format.

At our recent, ‘Future of Assessment Technology’ event, Adam Birt, Head of ACA Development and Special Projects at ICAEW, presented alongside Ian Castledine, a Solution Architect at RM Results, on Harnessing the Power of Technology in Assessment. Adam outlined how ICAEW are using technology to deliver their assessments in a more real-world setting, whilst maintaining the integrity and quality of their qualifications.

Ian spoke more broadly about the developing role and potential of different technologies across the assessment delivery landscape. “My first memory of technology in assessment is that I wasn’t allowed to use my calculator in a maths exam,” said Ian. “Fortunately, in some sectors at least, things have moved on.”

Ian mapped out the current general approach to testing, noting that we tend to follow a linear approach where everything happens in a pre-defined order.

Ian suggested that while the assessment process could continue to follow a linear format in which there is a beginning, middle and end; the processes which take place in the middle are becoming much more dynamic and collaborative, giving us the opportunity to change minds, change direction or gather evidence along the way. As Ian states the “changing landscape and technology, in all its guises, can help address some of those challenges”.

Ian also discussed how technology could allow students to be assessed in the comfort of their own homes, at a time of their choosing through assessment windows, item banking and remote proctoring:

“It’s interesting to think about how this concept could tie up with a remote proctoring solution, so that rather than having an invigilator, students could be monitored remotely via recordings, and these sessions could be played back in future to look at things like potential malpractice.”

Watch Ian and Adam’s full presentation on how harnessing the power of technology in assessment is helping ICAEW meet the needs of the millennial, professional student.

References:

[1] It’s Official: Millennials have surpassed baby boomers to become America’s largest living generation; The Washington Post, April 26, 2016: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/04/26/its-official-millennials-have-surpassed-baby-boomers-to-become-americas-largest-living-generation/?utm_term=.be6217789b1a

[2] Millennials: Major think tank names cut-off date for generation Y, Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/millennial-how-old-is-generation-y-cutoff-date-pew-research-center-a8235731.html

[3] Millennials, coming of age; Goldman Sachs: http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/pages/millennials/