It’s never been more important to keep up with the latest developments in the world of digital assessment. But it’s not always easy when there’s a bunch of technical jargon to navigate. We’ve put together a glossary of terms that you will likely come across whether you’re just starting to get to grips with online assessment or you’ve already adopted digital assessment tools and are looking to stay abreast of industry trends. This list will be a live resource at your disposal, that we will update as and when new terms emerge.
A method of using comparisons as an alternative to traditional marking. Assessors are presented with two pieces of work side-by-side, and they choose which is better. An adaptive algorithm then helps achieve reliable professional consensus on the rank order of all pieces.
The process of tailoring the difficulty of test questions to a candidate's ability. (Can also be referred to as computer-adaptive testing.) (1)
Software that allows you to create digital items and tests for an assessment.
The subject matter expert who typically writes the item or test for an assessment.
The automatic calculation of scores completed by an e-marking tool as soon as the exam session has finished.
Assessment for learning
An approach to learning and assessment which sees learners become more active in the learning process and in thinking about their own performance. (See also: formative assessment.) (2)
A combination of both digital assessment and paper-based assessment methods.
The delivery of tests using computers instead of via pen and paper. (3)
Content management system
In the context of digital assessment, it refers to a software tool used to create, manage and modify content for assessments.
The suite of technology that enables an assessment to be deployed and completed digitally by the candidate.
An assessment that is delivered to a candidate on-screen. (4)
The final test used in the UK at the end of an apprenticeship to assess the range of knowledge and skills the apprentice has gained throughout their training.
A way of assessing learners during the ongoing learning process that allows teachers to adjust their teaching to meet student needs and actively involve learners in the process. (See also: assessment for learning). (5)
High stakes assessment
An assessment that is used to inform important decisions or outcomes. (6)
An individual who is employed to observe candidates sitting an exam to protect against exam malpractice. (Also referred to as a proctor). (7)
A repository for test questions and other test elements which allows them to be repurposed.
A pilot of an element of a qualification that leads to an award. Used to prove the robustness of a digital assessment delivery system and other associated processes. (8)
Low stakes assessment
A method of assessment that does not impact learners' final grades or any other educational outcomes. (9)
An external process (removed from the marking of assessments) that makes sure that standards have been applied correctly and that marks are fair and accurate. (10)
A way of running computer-based tests without the need for an internet connection.
An assessment that can be taken at a time and date of the learners' choosing within their study programme/course.
An assessment that is completed by the candidate on a computer screen.
A learning process that allows learners to critique and feedback on each other's work using benchmarks typically set by the teacher.
An individual who is employed to observe candidates sitting an exam to protect against exam malpractice. (Also referred to as an invigilator.)
A way of categorising the sort of question being asked in an assessment. Examples include drag and drop, multiple choice and sequence response.