Digital assessment

What does digital assessment mean?

Digital assessment is the use of technology for assessment purposes rather than the traditional pen and paper.  The use of technology for teaching and learning programmes in New Zealand schools is on the increase and NZQA has developed a digital assessment programme as a response.

The focus of NZQA’s digital assessment programme is on the student and assessment not the technology.  The technology is an enabler for positive change for assessment by

  • Reflecting what is happening in teaching and learning
  • Enabling student needs to drive the programme, not assessment.

Digital assessment has the potential to provide real benefits for students

  • Assessment can occur whenever the student is ready
  • Assessment is in a medium the student is familiar with
  • Assessment can occur anywhere and at any time.

The user experience of an NCEA student in the future?

NZQA has been exploring the experience of its users focused on what they might look like in the future.

How users might experience assessment in the future

What have we done so far?

  • Finalised plans for the next 3-5 years
  • Begun the process of reviewing current moderation systems
  • Made online moderation available to schools
  • Undertaken a scanning project using marked NZ Scholarship booklets
  • Started investigating the implementation of a marking application
  • A pilot of a computer based assessment in 2014 is in the pipeline
  • Completing a research and discovery phase about computer based examinations.

Are schools ready for computer based assessments?

As part of exploring Digital Assessment NZQA surveyed secondary schools about their BYOD (“Bring Your Own Device”) programmes, and their readiness for computer based assessments.  We also wanted to understand the capacity of each school’s wireless networks and hardware.  We also wanted to know which schools used the electronic submission process for moderation.

182 schools responded, and of those:

  • 94.5% will have some form of BYOD programme in place by the end of 2015.  The shape of these programmes varies from school to school with most schools introducing it as an option.
  • Where schools are introducing a BYOD programme, the majority (74.4%) would allow any device which means they will be focusing on web-based activities rather than specific software oriented activities.
  • Most of the surveyed schools (94.1%) have a wireless network, with 91% providing students' access to it. However, many noted the quality of the Wi-Fi varies, and this impacts on its usefulness.
  • 27.8% of the schools indicated they could manage computer based assessment with their existing computer hardware, and 49.5% indicated they could manage if students' computers were able to be used.  Some schools noted they could manage a smaller number of computer based assessments but may not be able to manage all subjects having computer based assessments.

NZQA wants to hear from more schools regarding their readiness for digital assessment, so we will be repeating this survey in more detail later in the year.

Assessment as learning – the need for change

For an enlarged version of Assessment of learning - the need for change (PDF, 387KB).

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