Into the third decade of Internet assessment

john_smallPosted by John Kleeman

As I take stock of the past year and look forward to the next, I’m doing so with great appreciation for all of Questionmark’s customers and users and for all my colleagues. I’d like to extend my best wishes to everyone for 2010.

I’m looking forward to the New Year as the start of a decade that promises to be an exciting one in which to work.There should be some amazing new developments during the 2010s as the Internet—which I regard as the third great invention of humankind—continues to transform assessment!

I’d suggest the first great invention was writing, allowing people to store information and knowledge and pass it on to others. Before writing, information could only be transferred by songs and ballads, or one person’s advice to another. Once writing was invented, knowledge could be written and stored, and more complex societies could start to form.

The next great invention was the printing press. Books and knowledge were not just restricted to the rich or the learned but could be communicated to all. Access to information and ideas became much easier, and this led in time to equality and freedom and our modern world.

The Internet, by bringing everyone together irrespective of geography and allowing the synergy of the crowd, rather than just from the writer to the reader, is transforming the world and society.  These are exciting and interesting times to be living and working. We don’t yet know where the Internet will take us, but it already is changing our world and bringing it together.

Working in the field of assessment, we are fortunate to be enablers for the Internet revolution. The Internet means that knowledge, learning and ideas spread faster than ever before, and we are freed from the constraints of geography. You can read this blog entry from Kansas to Karachi, at the time you want. And you can comment on it, tweet it, or ignore it and move to something better, all in just a few keystrokes.

Assessment contributes to the Internet and the Internet contributes to assessment. The Internet is about learning and assessment is the cornerstone of learning: it diagnoses what you know and need to learn, helps confirm what you have learned and helps personalize your learning path.  The promise of the Internet is that a child in the furthest corner of the world can learn from the greatest teacher, and that the potential of everyone in the world can be fulfilled. By effective use of surveys, quizzes, tests and exams, we can be part of making this happening.

The Internet also contributes to making assessment better. From online item writing workshops and item review with tools such as Questionmark Live, to delivery over the Internet and on mobile devices, and to passing and confirming assessment results online, the Internet changes every part of assessment. And this can only change and change for the better as the technology becomes more reliable and the demands for global assessment increase.

The 1990s saw the beginnings of Internet assessment (with Questionmark proud to have produced the first Internet assessment product in 1995) and the 2000s have seen Internet assessment become widespread and useful. Questionmark has an exciting announcement to make about a new version of our software in January 2010 that will make mobile assessments and assessments in frames within wikis, blogs and portals much, much easier. With news like that for starters, the 2010s look a very exciting time for Internet assessment.

Leave a Reply