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What Happens to Educational Assessment in the 4th Industrial Revolution?

This article is also published in The New School, Quipper's Guide to K-12 for the 21st Century School

The fourth Industrial revolution is described to be the fusion of technologies that integrates the domains of the physical, digita

l, and biological spheres. The new technologies become embedded within societies and even the human functioning. The discoveries in robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, quantum computing, biotechnology, The Internet of Things, decentralized consensus, 3D printing, and autonomous vehicles change the way we live such as business, governance, and education. Examples of how technology changed our society is the use of applications to easily get transportations such as cars and reserving flights; purchasing products though online shopping; reserving seats in restaurants and hotels; checking bank status online; outsourcing other services online; and communicating with people around the world. In education, courses are offered using online platforms such as learning management systems, presenting information in different forms of multimedia, and instruction need not be face to face all the time through the flipped classroom and blended learning. Assessment is an important part of the teaching and learning process that evolved in the fourth industrial revolution. There are five areas identified and this article describes how assessment changes in the fourth industrial revolution.

1. Movement towards the use of online application in assessment

Assessment is usually done where the instructions and tasks are written in a paper. In the fourth industrial revolution, the printed assessment is augmented into online and computerized forms. The drills and exercise are answered by students using learning management systems, Google forms, and other applications designed to input the tasks and items from the teacher and students respond. The answers of students are immediately processed by the application where students instantly get the results of the assessment. The platform also enables teachers to summarize the performance of students and view the individual performance of students. This makes the teacher adept to determine interventions needed for the learners.

2. Using multimedia platforms on performance-based task

Online and computerized assessment does not only mark and record assessment tasks with right and wrong answers, performance-based tasks are also feasible. The instructions, task prompt, criteria, and sample output can be provided by the teacher in learning management systems. The students can take a video of their performance or presentation or an illustration of their work output and uploads it to the learning management system for the teachers and peer feedback. The performance can be in the form of essays, plans, and reports where the documents can be directly typed or uploaded in the learning management system. The teacher views the performance at certain period of time to provide feedback for some improvement in the work.

3. Greater accountability for students’ performance when results are readily available

Given that marks, results, and feedback are made available at an instant in an online platform, this information can be presented in a meaningful way to the teacher. The teacher can immediately think and provide ways to help learners given their weaknesses. The information generated from assessment can immediately be translated into specific strategies to help the learners learn better. The fast delivery of the results allows the teachers and school administrators to become accountable to students learning.

4. Easily conduct item analysis given the availability of data

Given that the data such as scores of students for each item are stored, it can be opened in different software such as spreadsheets and statistical packages, item analysis can easily be conducted. The process of item analysis provides information if an item is easy or difficult or if it can discriminate abilities of learners. The reliability and validity can also be determined using data from the assessment. The statistical information derived from the item analysis provides information on how good the assessment is and what specific items can further be improved.

5. Feedback becomes interactive using online discussion boards

When performance tasks such as essays, compositions, reports, plans, illustrations, and diagrams are submitted electronically, both teacher and peer feedback can be made available. Information from feedback is a powerful means to help students improve their work. The feedback can be directed on the work or a feedback receives another feedback making it interactive. The feedback appears in print form and the learner can go back to it and review how the work can be revised. The learner can even have an opportunity to address the feedback provided. The feedback can appear in discussion boards, social networks, and online forums.

Given the rapid change in the teaching and learning process due to advancement in technology, there is a need to develop a set of skills to make learners ready for the demands of the fourth industrial revolution. It requires much of the learner to become creative in innovating ideas and products, design processes to make work more efficient, and become more adaptable with better and faster ways of communication. The advent of the millennium has lead to 21stcentury skills that learners need to posses. The succeeding years would require learners to become more adaptable for the advancing fourth industrial revolution.

Further correspondence can be addressed to Dr. Carlo Magno at

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