Why did/would you choose a particular type of e-assessment? Describe why you think it is effective and how it can help deepen knowledge and understanding.
InStep is an Open Source video database assessment tool. Whilst InStep can be used for a range of learners, in diverse settings and contexts, it was originally conceived as a tool to provide reliable assessment measures for non-accredited learning for learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities (LLDD), with an emphasis on learners being supported to recognise and record their own progress and achievement (RARPA). Many of these small steps of progress go un-measured, yet it is essential that learners are able to evidence progress which they have made. InStep combines an assessment continuum with a video database, where pedagogical aspects of implementing such a tool enhance learner development.
In your experience, what type of approach creates an environment conducive to self-directed learning, peer support and collaborative learning? How might technology help?
Traditional assessment methods are rarely appropriate for learners with LLDD, nor do they recognise that these learners make progress in many ways – particularly in increasing their confidence, in posture, social and life skills. Given the important role of appropriate and relevant assessment in special needs education – with stroke patients, those in rehabilitative recovery, and within speech and language therapy, for example – it is essential to develop additional forms of assessment which capture the achievements and attainments of such learners with authenticity, fairness and validity. Various e-portfolios offer a video database, however these are not combined with formalised assessment measures and, for learners with LLDD, they are largely inaccessible, being text-based. Whilst the use of video technologies in assessment is gaining momentum, and there is some clear evidence of the benefits and potential in using these devices as a tool for learning and teaching, further discussion around the development and implementation of video assessment is required.
What opportunities and challenges does this approach present to tutors?
Overall, the assessment continuum is seen as a valuable educational tool, though staff confidence in making assessment judgments based on video footage varies. Whilst the focus of developing InStep had been on the use of video evidence and the development of an assessment continuum, technical aspects played a more dominant role than had been anticipated. Initially, some staff had difficulty in capturing the required steps of progress within the limitation of 50 seconds per video clip and others had difficulty in taking quality, reliable video footage and performing basic editing and trimming procedures independently. However, all staff commented that as the project proceeded they learned how to limit their filming to that which was immediately relevant and pertinent. This is important because the ability to make an assessment judgment against a video clip is largely dependent on the quality of the video clip itself.
(Edited extract from: Fern Faux, David Finch, Lisa Featherstone in Computers Helping People with Special Needs (2012). InStep: A Video Database Assessment Tool)