Skip to main content
Home » Education Technology » How tech can improve data-driven decision-making and insights with baseline assessments

Kate Bailey

Managing Director, Cambridge Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring

Technology can shape the development of adaptive baseline assessments to improve student engagement and accessibility.

As Cambridge Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) turns 40, we look back on the technologies that shaped baseline assessments and what the future holds. 

What can we learn from 40 years of assessments? 

The shift from paper-based tests to online platforms, made possible by the availability of computers in schools since the 1990s, reduced teacher time spent marking and significantly improved the engagement, accessibility and scalability of assessments.  

This technological advancement has enabled us to reach a larger student population worldwide, as well as gather, analyse and return real-time data on student performance and potential.  

Developing adaptive assessments 

The development of our adaptive assessments has been made possible with sophisticated psychometric models like Item Response Theory (IRT), which allows you to build adaptive tests that dynamically select items that are appropriately challenging for each test taker.  

Technology has also facilitated the integration of assessment data with personalised learning and information management platforms in schools. The utilisation of big data, learning analytics, psychometrics, statistical software and algorithms has significantly enhanced the capacity to process and analyse large volumes of assessment data. 

Cambridge CEM now analyses a staggering 43 million data points each year, benefiting hundreds of thousands of students and using powerful predictions that enable educators to create customised learning paths.  

AI certainly offers many opportunities,
with ethical considerations.

The future of AI in assessment 

Looking ahead, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is expected to play an even more prominent role in the future development of baseline assessments. But will AI be part of the day-to-day routines and processes of teaching and learning? AI certainly offers many opportunities, with ethical considerations. 

Imagine the impact on students with the evolution of holistic assessments, that can offer teachers a comprehensive cognitive, non-cognitive and meta-cognitive profile of their students. Imagine an accurate, large-scale, cost-effective, time-saving pathway that enhances the human experience of schooling for truly personalised learning. 

Ongoing goal to advance learning 

Nick Raikes, Director of Data Science at Cambridge University Press and Assessment explains: “We are in the business of providing standardised information on what learners know and can do. It’s really important that we provide valid, reliable, useful information. Data is absolutely fundamental to our business.” 

After 40 years of assessment development, our aims remain unchanged — to continue our commitment to harnessing the best technological solutions while retaining validity and giving primacy to the role of the teacher through effective assessment tools that generate insights and facilitate data-driven decision-making. 

To find out more about the future of assessments, join our free webinar on 10 October with leading assessment specialists:

Next article