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Assessment and learning in the digital age

Press release issued: 16 June 2011

The role and future of assessment and learning in the digital age will be discussed at a free event organised by the University's Graduate School of Education tomorrow [Friday 17 June].

This question will be answered at a free symposium tomorrow [Friday, June 17].

The symposium, Assessment and learning in the digital age, will take place at the University of Bristol’s Graduate School of Education (GSOE) on Friday 17 June from 1 to 5 pm in Room 4.10, GSOE, 35 Berkeley Square, Bristol.  The event, which will be streamed live on the internet, brings to a close the GSOE’s Festival of Education. 

Speakers at the symposium include Professor Patricia Broadfoot, University of Bristol, Professor Barbara Wasson, University of Bergen and Dr Carlo Perrotta from the London Knowledge Lab, Institute of Education, London.

Until recently, the lack of credible alternatives to conventional educational assessment has meant that it has been difficult to envisage any significant change in accepted assessment practices.  This is now changing as rapid developments in digital technologies provide new possibilities in the way that assessment can be used both to support and to report on students’ learning. 

Professor Broadfoot will review the urgent need for radical new thinking in relation to assessment and the revolution in practice that must follow.

Professor Wasson will discuss a number of assessment mechanisms and illustrate how these can be supported by technology.  Using the SCY (Science Created by You) project as an example, she will illustrate how assessment mechanisms can be intertwined with the learning process and facilitate these mechanisms with features of the learning environment and with assessment tools.

Dr Perrotta will examine the main findings from a 2010 Futurelab project that explored future scenarios for assessment and the role technology might play in them.  The scenarios will be described and their implications considered critically in the light of the limits and the constraints that characterise the current educational landscape.

The symposium, chaired by Rosamund Sutherland, Professor of Education and Dr Sue Timmis, Senior Lecturer in Technology Enhanced Learning both at the GSOE, is free and open to everyone.  To book a place at the event email

The symposium is the culmination of the GSOE’s Festival of Education.  The series of public events celebrated the opening of the School’s new Creative Learning Spaces.  The events were intended to provoke discussion of key ideas and contributions to the advancement of education, locally and globally. 

Further information

The University of Bristol’s Graduate School of Education (GSOE) is one of the largest departments in the University.

At the core of the GSOE’s work is the understanding of how to educate people for today’s politically, technologically and socially changing world.

Central to this is the belief that the ways in which people learn throughout life within educational institutions, the workplace and informal settings is of major significance for the future development of the UK and countries around the world.

The programme for the symposium is:

1.45 – 2.05 pm
'A vision of assessment for the 21st century' by Professor Patricia Broadfoot, Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol

2.05 – 2.35 pm
'Supporting assessment mechanisms through technology' by Professor Barbara Wasson, Department of Information Science & Media Studies, University of Bergen

2.35 – 3.05 pm
Discussion – 'Challenges and issues with current assessment models and policies in the digital age'

3.10 – 3.30 pm
'The future of assessment within a constrained environment' by Dr Carlo Perrotta, London Knowledge Lab, Institute of Education, London

3.30 – 4 pm
Refreshments break

4 – 4.45 pm
Discussion - 'The role and future of assessment in the digital age'

4.45 pm
Drinks reception

Please contact for further information.
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