Articles & Papers
Delivering ICT tests for the QCDA
In 2003, RM Education was awarded a 6 year, £23m contract by the English schools' exam regulator, QCA, to deliver a system for assessing pupils' capability in ICT at the end of Key Stage 3 (age 14) across all secondary schools in England. In 2009, QCA was renamed to the QCDA, the Qualifications & Curriculum Development Agency.
What did the project comprise?
The project required RM to provide the following:
- A test delivery system
- Test software
- The KS3 ICT Test Materials and electonic mark scheme
- Provision of support services for schools (customer services and technical support)
The KS3 ICT Test Materials and Electronic Mark Scheme included a complex test and mark scheme development process as well as the production of familiarisation, practice and summative test packages.
The test delivery system
The test delivery system was developed and deployed successfully in line with QCA’s requirements. It ensured the secure, robust and reliable delivery of scheduled high stakes tests to centres (schools), their administration and return of candidate responses for results processing. It was also capable of delivering practice tests and formative assessments on an on-demand basis that provided the candidate immediate feedback (in the form of a report) upon completing the test or task.
To ensure the integrity and reliability of the data being delivered across the test delivery system, RM required all schools to go through an accreditation process that would test whether their network would support the operation of the system. Upon receiving the software, schools also had access to a range of training materials and technical guides to assist them in using the system to deliver and administer tests.
The system was deployed successfully in over 2,000 English secondary schools and used by a number of awarding organisations to deliver GCE, GCSE and Functional Skills tests. The system was also deployed to more than 700 schools to provide formative assessment of ICT capability during Key Stage 3.
In 2005, RM Education’s KS3 ICT Test system was awarded an e-Government National Award, and Innovative Project of the Year by the Computing Awards for Excellence.
By April 2009, the Test Delivery System had been used successfully to deliver approximately 1 million assessment sessions.