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Formative e-Assessment: case stories, design patterns and future scenario

Caroline Daly, Harvey Mellar, Yishay Mor, Norbert Pachler
London Knowledge Lab

This paper will present an overview of a recent Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) funded project entitled 'Scoping a vision for formative e-assessment (FEASST)' (June 2008 – January 2009) led by the WLE Centre for Excellence and the London Knowledge Lab (http://snipurl.com/feasst and http://feasst.wordpress.com/).
The project team carried out a literature review across the areas of (formative) assessment (incl. assessment for learning), e-assessment and formative e-assessment with a view, among other things, to establish a domain map. The project took place against the background of an increasing recognition in the UK that the important work on formative assessment and assessment for learning carried out largely within the school sector should find more widespread inclusion in post-16 pedagogy. In the latter summative approaches to assessment still prevail and formative assessment often remains conceptualized simply as distributed summative assessment. The increasing prevalence of digital technologies in teaching and learning represents a further challenge. As a project team we were particularly interested in the human-centric, social dimension, rather than a data-centric perspective, on e-assessment. By request of the funders, e-portfolios were without our purview.
Using the design pattern methodology, the project developed a range of case studies of formative e-assessment with practitioners across a range of settings (from Primary to Higher education) through a series of Practical Enquiry Days. From a selection of these cases we abstracted patterns, the richest of which, in turn, we analysed against the findings from the literature review. We also subjected the patterns to the scrutiny of a group of software developers with a view to deriving some illustrative pedagogical and technical scenarios of use from them. In a synoptic final step we mapped the case studies as well as the patterns and scenarios abstracted from them to the domain map. In this paper we will provide an overview of the project, with particular reference to our methodology, and we will discuss an illustrative number of cases, patterns and scenarios.

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