Thursday, 27 June 2013

I've been reading (slowly!) the recent report Role of the US Department of education, office of educational technology that is entitled "Expanding evidence approaches for learning in a digital world." (

The development of the report was led by Karen Cator, the Director of the Office of Educational technology. Karen. who was previously at Apple Computers, was involved in the Centre for Assessment and Evaluation of Student Learning ( for which I was managing director for seven years.

In Chapter 1 of the report there is an interesting discussion of the A/B testing method, which is a way of rapidly testing changes to the development of online learning materials in an iterative manner. It set me thinking about how educational measurement research needs to change its methodology as we move increasingly into digital formats. Traditionally, in educational research, we have designed large-scale studies that take several years to implement. That is fine for testing the major outcomes of an intervention, but is not an efficient way of making incremental changes that will improve learning in digital environments. We need to think about how we can structure design and development to rapidly try out different versions of assessment methods so that we can identify the most promising ones and focus on those.

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