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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Prof Jim Ridgway

J. Ridgway & S. McCusker (2003). Using Computers to Assess New Educational Goals. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy and Practice 10(3): 309-328.

Author(s) from Durham


There is a remarkable consensus worldwide on 'new' educational goals. These emphasise problem solving using mathematics and science, supported by an increased use of information technology. Change can be difficult: first is the problem of communicating new goals; second is their alignment with old assessment systems. Well-designed assessment can solve both these problems. Here, computer-based tasks are described which exemplify new goals and could be used to promote desirable educational change. Computers can make a unique contribution to assessment. They can present new sorts of tasks, where dynamic displays show changes in several variables over time. Interaction makes computers well suited to the assessment of process skills--discovering rules, finding relationships, developing effective strategies--by the use of simulations, microworlds and interactive games. Students can work with complex realistic data sets, using professional methods. The paper illustrates these claims, and describes student strengths and weaknesses observed on live tests.


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