Examinations are one of the very few functions of a bricks-and-mortar university that have resisted the digital transformation wave and remained largely unchanged for centuries. After a semester of interacting with digitally assisted teaching supported by a rich online learning environment, our students are given a pen and paper with which to conclusively demonstrate the results of this effort.
The barriers to online assessment are plentiful, however. The final examination goes to the heart of the perception of the qualification, and to the reputation of the university. Issues of equity, reliability and logistics must be addressed, as well as the process and skillsets of assessment and assessors.
While challenging to address, this change cannot be ignored. Gartner ranks Digital Assessment at #6 on their 2016 list of Top 10 Strategic Technologies Impacting Higher Education. High-school leavers coming to tertiary education will soon bring with them an expectation of digital assessment due to government initiatives in both New Zealand and Australia.
This presentation addresses the barriers to, and drivers for, change in this area; examines the state of the enabling technologies; and describes how the University of Auckland has structured a programme to deliver online assessment pilot capabilities in 2017.