2014 South African Users Conference – Addressing Compliance

Austin FosseyPosted by Austin Fossey

We are back from the first South African Users Conference which was hosted by Bytes People Solutions. Like all of our users conferences, the most valuable aspect of this gathering was hearing from our customers and potential customers—through presentations as well as informal conversations.

Many attendees manage assessment programs for large academic or commercial institutions, and I was struck by their teams’ organizational skills. From my conversations, it sounds as if many of these program managers have to strike a balance between traditional practices at their organizations and the needs to adopt innovative strategies to improve measurement practices. For example, one program manager spoke about helping item writers transition from writing items in MS Word to writing them in Questionmark Live. The people I spoke to appeared to be pushing the envelope of their assessment capabilities, helping their stakeholders through technological transitions, while simultaneously delivering thousands of assessments. It was impressive.

Compliance was a recurring theme. In the U.S., test developers are always collecting evidence to demonstrate the legal defensibility of their assessments, and we often turn to The Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing for guidance (the latest edition was released just last week). Though the legal and cultural expectations for test development may differ slightly in other regions, no modern test developer is exempt from accountability. Demonstrating compliance with organizational or legal requirements seemed to be a big consideration for many attendees.

Regardless of what compliance means to different organizations, one thing was the same for everyone: demonstrating compliance means having accurate, easily-accessed data. I noticed that many clients were able to cite data-backed evidence for the decisions they made in their testing programs to meet their stakeholders’ compliance requirements. Some of these data came from Questionmark through our APIs and assessment results, but these presenters also clearly did research about other important factors that impact the validity of the results.

For example, presenters talked about the evidence they gathered to support the use of computer-based testing over paper and pencil tests. Another presenter shared qualitative data from interviewing subject matter experts about their impressions of Questionmark’s authoring tools. These decisions affect the delivery mode and task models of the assessment, which directly relate to the validity of the results, so it is encouraging to see test developers documenting their rationales for these kinds of decisions.

All in all, it was an impressive group of professionals who gathered in Midrand, and I am sure that I learned just as much (if not more) from the participants as they did from me. Special thanks to everyone who attended and presented!

Coming soon to South Africa: A full conference programme by and for Questionmark users!

Chloe MendoncaPosted by Chloe Mendonca

Questionmark users gathering in Midrand, South Africa 21-22 August have a variety of sessions to look forward to. The programme for the South African Questionmark Users Conference is almost finalised and now includes a range of customer case studies as well as sessions about Questionmark features and functions.

We’re especially pleased to have Jim Farrell, who leads Questionmark’s product management
team, on board as a presenter. Jim has more than 20 years’ experience in the world of education and assessments and will share some of the latest
developments in Questionmark’s browser-based authoring tool and cover the newest Reporting and Analytics features.

This event is for Questionmark customers as well as individuals interested in learning more about Questionmark’s technologies.

Why attend? Here are some excellent reasons:

  • Write better assessments: Questionmark experts will share advice about effective assessment authoring
  • Learn from your peers through case studies: discover strategies that have helped other users to save time and money and compare your organisation’s practices to theirs
  • Influence the product roadmap: explain to Questionmark’s product managers what you need from your assessment software
  • Get face time: there is no substitute for face-to-face meetings with people who understand the opportunities and challenges in your work
  • Professional development opportunity: take advantage of this opportunity close to home

If you’ve already made plans to be there, we’re looking forward to seeing you! For those who haven’t signed up, we hope you will register and join us!

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South African Users Conference Programme Takes Shape

Chloe MendoncaPosted by Chloe Mendonca

In just five weeks, Questionmark users and other learning professionals will gather in Midrand for the first South African Questionmark Users Conference.

Delegates will enjoy a full programme, from case studies to features and functions sessions on the effective use of Questionmark technologies.

There will also be time for networking during lunches and our Thursday evening event.

Here are some of the sessions you can look forward to:

  • Case Study: Coming alive with Questionmark Live: A mind shift for lecturers – University of Pretoria
  • Case Study: Lessons and Discoveries over a decade with Questionmark – Nedbank
  • Case Study: Stretching the Boundaries: Using Questionmark in a High-Volume Assessment Environment – University of Pretoria
  • Features and Functions: New browser based tools for collaborative authoring – Overview and Demonstrations
  • Features and Functions: Analysing and Sharing Results with Stakeholders: Overview of Key New Questionmark Reporting and Analytics features
  • Features and Functions: Extending the Questionmark Platform: Updates and overviews of APIs, Standards Support, and integrations with third party applications
  • Customer Panel Discussion: New Horizons for eAssessment

You can register for the conference online or visit our website for more information.

We look forward to seeing you in August!

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