Catalyst IT's eAssessment service

Move from paper-based to digital assessment.
Online delivery
 

Catalyst IT and Monash University have been working together to deliver an eAssessment suite of tools (online exams) for Monash University’s student base, with the initial pilot going live in 2018. The use of eAssessments has exploded over the last two years, and in 2019 the joint development team refined the technology and content conversion offering into a stable and campus-ready service offering.

Catalyst and Monash heavily extended the Moodle quiz toolset and user interfaces to deliver the following functional capabilities:

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  1.  Closer student experience to a traditional paper-based exam
    Students can take notes, highlight text and have a full screen work area to write their answers. Monash were extremely focused on an online experience that allows a pivot from the existing paper-based exam which has improved the eAssessment offering.

  2.  Improved toolkit for student time management
    There have been many iterations of usability improvements to allow students to see which questions they have and have not answered. There are also progress indicators and question flags for questions that might merit a review if time permits. All answers within an exam can be reviewed and changed before the final exam submission.

  3.  Extended grading options for teachers and academics
    Based on the significant time spent with Monash academics and learning designers during the initial exam pilots, we have added some important capabilities to streamline the marking process. This includes blind reviewing (marking) of the exam submissions, division of grading work across markers (by question types and sections) as well as an auto-grading function for multiple choice questions. On completion, the platform collates the marked exams for final review. This is aimed at logistical improvements to support the academic team to do what they need as part of their considerable effort to grade and review submissions.

eAssessment technology

 

Catalyst started the eAssessment project with Monash because the University had recognised that paper-based exams were not aligned with their students’ expectations of a modern experience that prepares them as graduates. Every year Monash spent a considerable amount of time preparing for and administering 360,000 exams. They had become frustrated with the cost and inefficiencies of traditional exam delivery and realised they had an opportunity to innovate and provide a more authentic experience.

Monash felt they should start to assess their students on their skills for today's workforce. The eAssessment platform is being developed as a solution and modern delivery mechanism that provides significant cost and equity advantages for secondary and tertiary education providers.

The eAssessment platform is built on a dedicated instance of the Moodle LMS application, with exam-specific features and customisations. Catalyst and Monash have found that having an exam platform separate from the LMS used for teaching ensures a clean division, as students cannot access eAssessments from the core LMS instance and our eAssessment service can work alongside any LMS that you use.

The eAssessment solution is a secure and robust platform, employing a user friendly interface designed for students by students. We use a locked-down browser which restricts students from accessing unauthorised resources during assessments. It has been built to be inclusive, challenging and authentic to enable students to demonstrate evidence of learning at the appropriate level of study.

Assistance to move from paper-based to digital assessment - eAssessment

Any technology is only as good as the team that delivers and supports it. Generally exam content and process needs to be modified to fully access the benefits of eAssessment in a large organisation, so we assign a team of assessment consultants to work with you to review exam content and convert into a digital format ready for delivery.

Catalyst support team staff will be there to answer questions about the most appropriate format for an exam question, how to structure and value questions in an assessment, and ensure that all student needs are considered. This extends to providing advice on new exam procedures and protocols and how to distribute and support these across your student body. We liaise with all relevant parts of your organisation to ensure that eAssessment exams are the best solution for your assessment needs.

Benefits of eAssessment

 

Benefits to students

  •   Electronic assessments provide a more engaging experience than using traditional paper exams.
  •   Supports emerging tech and innovation for assessment
  •   Engaging and flexible question types
  •   No more handwriting

Benefits to academics

  •   A wider array of question types that reflect real world scenarios, including multimedia
  •   Innovative functionality e.g. accessing authorised internet sites, free hand drawing
  •   Integration with knowledge management - Item bank
  •   Eliminates difficulty associated with illegible hand-written responses
  •   Automatic marking of many question types
  •   Online marking anywhere, as soon as the exam has finished - no need to wait for paper batching or physical delivery
  •   Enhanced insights and analytics capability
  •   Better management tools around the delegation of the marking responsibilities
  •   Platform-level support of blind marking initiatives
  •   More flexibility to adjust delivery mode, based on special circumstances of particular students
  •   Reduces risk of lost exams
  •   Tracks cohorts longitudinally

Our eAssessment Service includes:

 
Support

Access to exam support and platform configuration experts

Access to exam support and platform configuration experts to prepare, upload and review exam content ready for live examinations.

Support

Live Exam Support

Catalyst team members are on call and available during the exam periods.

Technical assistance

Ongoing technical support and expertise

We provide ongoing technical support and expertise to assist with technical and administration issues.

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Integration with your preferred eProctoring solution

Our Moodle eAssessment platform can be integrated with a wide array of eProctoring tools (both Human and AI-based).

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Integrations

Add Moodle plug-ins for integration with other internal systems.

Accessibility

Accessibility

Our Moodle eAssessment platform supports screen-reading devices.

Data

Data Transparency

Transparent control of exam data with the security of  onshore data sovereignty and archiving. The data belongs to the institution.

Cloud infrastructure

Cloud Infrastructure

Hosting on AWS Sydney region. Hosting exclusively in Australia in redundant independent AWS data centres, which ensure that your site remains available and performant.

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Based on Moodle LMS

Use of one of the largest LMS projects on the planet, an Australian success story.

FAQs

 

Q: Do I need to be experienced in Moodle LMS to use the eAssessment platform?
A: No experience with Moodle is required by any of the team in order to use the platform for assessment delivery.

Q: Can I choose any eProctoring solution?
A: Essentially yes, as long as there is a Moodle plugin or LTI compatibility.

Q: We have a lot of content to convert into a digital format, can you help us?
A: Yes, our eAssessment consultants can help with the bulk of importing and testing.

Q: What happens if a student has an issue during the exam period?
A: This is essentially an institution-level policy decision. Our experience is that it is best to provide several support mediums for the students, allowing them to reach out to the institution both online and by phone in the instance of a serious issue.

Q: Will students have access to their exam results via the eAssessment platform?
A: Yes, if required. Although generally the notification of exam results to students might make use of another institutional solution (e.g. student management system).

Q: We want to set up students in the eAssessment platform using our student management system, can we integrate?
A: Yes.

Q: Is the eAssessment platform WCAG 2.0 Level AA and Section 508 compliant? Will it work with JAWS screen readers?
A: Yes and yes.

 

 

Get in touch to find out how Catalyst's expert team can holistically develop, design and deliver your enterprise grade, expert and Open Source solution.