Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Towards a research agenda on computer-based assessment

At the EU workshop I attended in Ispra, Italy last year (see blogposts Psychometrics versus pedagogy and High stakes national assessments and ranking) we agreed to write some articles on quality aspects of computer based assessments to go towards a report for the European Commission. I'm glad to say that the report has now been published, and can be accessed online via the following link: Towards a research agenda on computer-based assessment

I think there's many interesting articles and views within the report, and I will certainly be reviewing the interesting perspectives that my colleagues presented at the workshop in this report. Do have a look, I am positive there will be something of interest there for virtually anyone.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Review: Classmarker

As we're in the middle of a review of the tools we use in support of assessment, I thought I'd share my analysis of the various tools that we come across. As today is a Sunday, we'll start off with a simple one:


Classmarker is an online quizmaker that offers free quizzes (supported by advertisement) with upgrades (including removing the advertisement) for an additional fee.
Type: online service
Cost: Free with paid upgrades
Features: Multiple choice quiz, free text quiz or punctuation quiz.
Interoperability: None
System requirements: Any browser

The first thing I notice when registering, is that the UK doesn't exist, although the 4 home nations do. A more serious point to note, as with many online services, is that all content (and so that includes all personal information, questions and results) will be the property of Classmarker.

The features of this service are extremely limited. While the Classmarker supports 3 question types, it only allows you to use one of those per test. Options such as randomisation, feedback and branding are all features you will have to pay for. There seems to be no way to import or export your questions.

The site seems to be built mainly around Google Adsense. The advertisement and a Google search box is present on every possible page, and that will include the ones your learners visit. Upgrading to get rid of the advertisements costs $24.95 (or 49.95 for a business account, whatever that means). But then your users will still ave to register with the service before being able to take the test. Allowing for unregistered learners to take a test will cost you $0.10 or more per learner. Not really value for money given the incredibly limited features that are on offer.

Conclusion: I really can't see anything of value here. If you need something that is hosted for you, most survey services offer you more functionality. If you have your own space to host your assessments, even the simpler tools available wil offer more then Clasmarker.

Apologies to have to start of with such a negative review. I just stumbled across this tool today, and I thought I might as well write this up now. Do let me know if you have any comments, or perhaps sugestions for other tools I could review.