A goal of the Centre for Assessment Reform and Innovation is to investigate how technology can be used to support assessment.
Increasingly, technology is being used in learning and assessment and this brings with it opportunities for using technology to assess students’ knowledge and skills in new ways. Technology offers not only efficiencies in the ease of test administration and scoring, but also provides ways to assess skills in more interactive ways through the use of active and interactive tasks. This can provide more valid measures of skills because the tasks allow responses that are closer to the real-world applications of the skill. In some cases it allows assessment of skills that are impossible to assess on paper.
The use of interactive tasks brings with it larger data sets with a wider range of variables than in traditional assessments. This in turn creates challenges for psychometricians to develop new models for interpreting data in meaningful ways.
In addition, technology allows the blending of learning and assessing so that students are continually being assessed as they interact with learning materials and are provided with step-by-step feedback to aid learning.
Professor Adams is Special Advisor, Global Educational Monitoring, at the Australian Council for Educational Research and Professorial Fellow of the University of Melbourne. Ray specialises in international comparative studies, large-scale testing, psychometrics and educational statistics. His item response modelling software packages (Quest and ConQuest) are amongst the most widely used in educational and psychological measurement.