Digital Assessment - A Norwegian Model

Nora Clarke - University of Agder, Norway

Today`s assessment practices in higher education in Norway are a far cry from the digital advancements that are being developed and embraced in other areas of society. The digital “natives” that attend higher education institutions in Norway today study and learn with their laptops/mobiles but when they turn up for their long awaited examination, they are, in their words, brought back to the stone age, and required to reproduce their knowledge with pen and paper. Academics eagerly wait for the students’ papers to arrive in snail mail and spend their time interpreting the illegible hand writing while administrators spend their days counting, copying, double-checking, packing, sending examination papers from student to examiner. This presentation looks at the projects that have been initiated at a national and a local level which focus on the transformation of the traditional paper based assessment process today to an end to end digital process. I will share the goals we have set, the challenges we face, our results so far and the collaboration methods we are using in order to achieve our targets.

A national task force was appointed by “Norgesuniversitet” in 2013, financed by the Norwegian government and the Ministry of Education and Research. The main aim of this task force was to take a leading role in coordinating the activities, identify, describe and solve where possible at a national level the common issues related to digitalizing the assessment process. The national group are looking at the aspects connected to transforming the current analog process to a digital one but also looking at what opportunities technology presents in order to “re-assess” our assessment practices and look at assessing students more efficiently and in more innovative ways.

The technological perspective of the project has been a high priority from day one. The national task force has therefore a close co-operation with the eCampus-program, a program also financed by the Norwegian government and the Ministry of Education and Research and coordinated by UNINETT AS, who have taken responsibility for taking a leading role in the work related to the technological aspects of the digital assessment process. This by establishing a National project for Digital assessment within Higher Education and inviting all state owned universities to participate in a joint collaboration. The responds on this invitation was overwhelming, 70 named resources representing 26 different Higher Education institutions are participating in this national project.
In my presentation I will primarily focus on these areas related to digital assessments;

* technological and commercial perspectives (BYOD concept for high state examinations, a national cloud based examinations platform, an innovative procurement process)
* the legal perspective (requirement for new regulations in light of a digital process)
* the organizational perspective (new roles, new requirements to competency, new demands to collaborations internally, re-thinking current processes, realizing benefits)
* the pedagogical perspective (use of technology to assess in new ways to benefit students and teachers)
* the perspective of succeeding with a national project and joint collaboration in a broad scale.