A revolutionary approach to science student assessment

From: Bob Little Press & PR
Published: Wed Aug 31 2005

Assessment for learning rather than the assessment of learning is the revolutionary approach to online testing devised by Tata Interactive Systems (TIS), the leading global e-learning producer, for ‘Hodder Science’, a science course used in over 1,000 schools in the UK which has been put forward for one of the prestigious BETT Awards, which are due to be announced in January 2006.

TIS devised a unique interactive assessment process to accompany a revised version of this course – intended for pupils at Key Stage 3 (11 to 14 year olds) – which also comes with free access to a website to offer further support to teachers and pupils.

"The assessments in ‘Hodder Science’ do not aim to discover if the student has got the answer ‘right or wrong’," explained Catherine Denton-Cox, senior product manager at Hodder Murray. "Rather, the aim of the assessment is to identify the most appropriate remedial action that a student, who has given a wrong answer, can take – since the aim of the programme is to enable all the students to understand all of the course.

"Assessment for learning rather than the assessment of learning is an important distinction," she added, "because this means that students don’t view getting the ‘wrong’ answer as ‘failure’. Rather, they are led – non-judgementally - to further materials that help to reinforce their learning and so help them achieve the grades that they, their parents and schools want."

In addition to directing the student to the relevant part of the course for some ‘remedial learning’, these assessments also enable the teacher to identify areas where the whole class are weak and so can prompt in-class brainstorming sessions, involving students making presentations and using a whiteboard to determine consensus answers to the questions posed by the course.

The TIS-devised assessments also provide the basis for a number of detailed reports, for teachers, of student progress and levels of understanding – as both a class and on an individual basis. According to Hodder Murray’s Sales and Marketing Director, Janice Tolan: "This provides a degree of sophisticated feedback that is currently unique among commercial KS3 science courses.

"Hodder Murray has many years experience in educational publishing," Tolan added, "but we are relatively new to the world of e-learning. Rather than spend a great deal of time and money on developing our own e-learning content, we chose to work with a company such as TIS, which already has a high degree of expertise and a track record of both quality and success in producing e-learning materials for the education, public and corporate sectors."

"Naturally, we are delighted to be working with Hodder Murray on such a ground-breaking development in electronic educational publishing," commented Alan Samuel, head of TIS in the UK.

"Over recent years, TIS has won 22 major international awards for its e-learning materials – including a BETT Award in 2004. We would love to add to that tally in 2006!"


Notes for Editors:

About ‘Hodder Science’ and ‘Hodder Science Interactive Assessment’

Hodder Science is a series of three, networkable CD-ROMs that provide a teaching resource for implementing Key Stage 3 Science Strategy for strengthening standards in the early years of secondary education.

Hodder Science Interactive Assessment – companion, networkable CD-ROMs to ‘Hodder Science’ - gives accurate and detailed diagnostic feedback on pupils’ progress, covering both formative and summative needs.

The formative assessment involves:

* Animated activities to allow pupils to explore difficult concepts and misconceptions.
* Associated questions with immediate feedback, encouraging pupils to take control of their own learning.

The summative assessment involves:

* ‘Levelled’, trackable tests.
* A customisation tool, allowing the adaptation of individual questions and tests, and a searchable question bank, which allows the creation of new tests.
Detailed reporting for teachers and pupils, linked to the QCA scheme of work objectives; yearly teaching objectives; National Curriculum references, and levels and sub-levels.
* Printable tests for home and school use.

Hodder Science Interactive Assessment comes on three CD-ROMs – one for each year encompassed by Key Stage 3. Each CD-ROM is priced at £250 + VAT.

About Tata Interactive Systems (TIS)

Tata Interactive Systems (TIS) is a global pioneer in e-learning. A part of the £7bn Tata Group – one of the largest and most trusted business conglomerates in India, TIS has 15 years of experience in designing and developing innovative and cutting-edge e-learning solutions.

TIS employs a global team of 850 multi-disciplinary specialists – a unique mix of project managers, software engineers, instructional designers, content developers, visual designers and animators. Its service bouquet includes Simulations, Systems Training, New Hire Training, Business Processes and Skills Training, Regulatory and Compliance Training, Sales and Customer Service Training, Adaptive Assessments, Story-based Learning Objects and EPSS. Powered by creative talent, sound processes and technological excellence, TIS has developed over 950 e-learning solutions for more than 300 clients – including 50 Fortune 500 companies – across the UK, Europe, US, Australia and Asia. Its client roster includes leading corporations, renowned educational institutions and government bodies such as British Airways, BECTA, Citibank, Colgate-Palmolive, ExxonMobil, GlaxoSmithKline, HP, McGraw-Hill, NHS, ntl, Orange, Pearson Education, Qwest, Royal Mail, Swiss Re, UNICEF, University of Phoenix, University of Maryland and Vodafone.

Apart from holding ISO 9001 and BS7799 certification, TIS is the only e-learning organisation in the world to be assessed at Level 5 in both the SEI CMM and P-CMM frameworks. TIS’s quest for excellence is reflected in 20 prestigious industry awards, including BETT 2004 Best Product Award, Brandon Hall Excellence in Learning Award 2004, APEX 2004 Award of Excellence and three nominations for the prestigious WOLCE Awards.

For more information log onto www.tatainteractive.com

About the Tata Group

The Tata Group, established in 1904 by the great visionary Jamsetji Tata, is one of India’s largest and most trusted business houses. The group pioneered the industrial revolution in India by founding, among other things, the first steel plant, power plant and chain of luxury hotels.

The Group employs more than 330,000 people in 91 companies across diversified industry sectors including steel, automobiles, cement, telecom and IT. Generating revenues to the tune of £7bn per year – 2.6 per cent of India’s total GDP – it is recognised as a leader in several industry segments such as such as steel, power, software exports and chemicals. It is also the parent company to Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Asia’s largest software producer.

Further information from:

Alan Samuel, Tata Interactive Systems, 020 7235 8281, www.tatainteractive.com

Janice Tolan, Hodder Murray, 020 7873 6192, www.hoddereducation.co.uk

Bob Little, Bob Little Press & PR, 01727 860405, www.boblittlepr.com

Company: Bob Little Press & PR
Contact Name: Bob Little
Contact Email: bob.little@dial.pipex.com
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