E-assessment: past, present and future

I have recently submitted a review with the title ‘E-assessment: past, present and future’. I think it is quite good, but I don’t yet know whether others agree with me!  Imagine what I felt when I realised that Thomas Hench from Delaware County Community College was giving a paper at CAA2013 entitled ‘Electronic assessment: past, present and future’. Tom was similarly amused by our similar titles, but actually the papers are quite different. You’ll have to wait to see mine, but I’d like to say a bit more about Tom’s – it was one of the best papers of the conference.

Tom had used ERIC to investigate ‘e-markers’ in around 5000 abstracts relating to e-learning and e-assessment, and the paper gave the frequency with which e-marker appeared in each year (using a rolling three-year approach).  This enabled Tom to plot the ‘evolution’ of e-assessment, as you might do in considering the evolution of various genetic markers.

Each ‘e-marker’ comprised a ‘prefix’ (e.g. electronic, computer, mobile, assisted/aided/based, online, web) and an ‘element’ (e.g. instructions, teaching, learning, assessment, testing). The way the markers have evolved is fascinating. Back in 1985, what we had was basically ‘computer-aided instruction’. Since then there has been a marked increase in ‘learning’ (Tom identified a shift from behaviourism to constructivism) and of the prefixes ‘online’ and ‘electronic’, associated with the growth of the web.  See Figures 1 and 2 below:


Now look closely at Figure 2 and note the recent growth of the prefix ‘mobile’. The question is, how much of an impact is this latest shift going to have?

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