E-assessment for Improving Learning

Chris Whetton , Marian Sainsbury

16 September 2007

In the United Kingdom, recent emphases in teaching have the requirement that each child has a personalised curriculum, planned in the light of comprehensive, continuous assessment evidence. This approach is central to the aspiration that every child should make good progress.

E-assessment has the potential to collate and analyse large amounts of data very quickly. This paper will describe an NFER project to investigate the collection, analysis and presentation of e-assessment data for formative purposes. The project developed a number of closely linked tasks to the national curriculum in England. These were trialled in primary schools. In addition to scoring data, the software collected information on timing and test-taking strategies. A small number of attitudinal questions were also included.

Using latent class analysis, a number of 'student profiles' were identified based on item scores, distractor choices, timings and attitude questions. These ‘profiles’ are descriptions of groups of students, categorising their attainments, misconceptions and attitudes. The rich information in these profiles was used to devise focused curriculum guidance, thus meeting a formative rather than summative purpose. The presentation will include examples of the e-assessments, an overview of the analysis and examples of profiles and resultant curriculum indicators.

This paper was presented by Chris Whetton at the 33rd International Association for Educational Assessment Conference held on 16-21 September 2007 at Baku, Azerbaijan.