Takeaways From One of Europe's Largest EdTech Conferences

April 20, 2022

A couple weeks back we were delighted to be invited by Microsoft to be a partner in the Microsoft Village at BETT UK, one of the largest EdTech conferences in the world!

Placed in the ‘Accelerate Learning’ category we were sharing what Nurture’s doing to close the feedback loop.

We wanted to share some of the main takeaways we took from the Bett UK conference, from a talk held during that week.

Quotes & insights from panellists during ‘The Future of Assessment in Formal Education’ webinar at BETT, summarised for you below:

*The 5 speakers on the panel below we’re former teachers themselves*

Matt Wingfield- CEO of The eAssessment Association & the sessions MC.

Amie Barr- Head of Assessment, Ark Schools: 

  • “My dream is that you walk into a classroom and you ask a student why are they doing an assessment and they’re really clear that the purpose of that assessment is to understand what they know, what they don’t know and to help them and their teachers to figure out what to do next to improve their learning”. - Amie
  • “For me what’s really exciting at the moment is the formative assessment piece, and that’s really what our schools should be focusing on, on a daily basis, and doing really regular formative assessments.”- Amie
  • Comment from the Nurture team: A bottleneck with formative assessment can be writing effective questions, that’s hard. At Nurture we are working on features whereby effective formative questions that have been written by one teacher for a topic can be shared to many teachers who are looking to assess the same topic. 
  • Comment from the Nurture team: Amy expresses that formative assessments should be really granular, focusing on what students know, what they don’t know and what their misconceptions are. With Nurture, students are assessed against clear learning objectives, once submissions are received, students are then ‘filtered’ into groups depending on what learning objectives they need assistance with to fill their knowledge gaps on a certain learning objective. You can see in the image below as an example, Alissa has been identified as needing assistance with the first learning objective of this assignment, as have two other students in her class.

Paul Roche- From Learnosity:

  • The “assessment piece is important but simply providing MCQ’s is insufficient, it’s not going to have enough engagement. Having a framework against an open taxonomy that can be put into an application with a variety of engagement methods and models is really key, and it’s just utilising technology in a stronger way”.- Paul
  • We’ve got a screenshot below of Nurtures pre-filled templates that help guide teachers to give formative feedback based on our proprietary pedagogical frameworks without restricting the comments they leave. 
  • Stephen Comiskey (Director of Teaching and Learning at Nurture) chimed in on some of Paul's comments saying “we know that student engagement with feedback is vital to success, that's why we use technology to close the feedback loop”.

Shane Sutherland- CEO of PebblePad:

  • “The purpose of assessment in higher education is to turn out confident and autonomous learners and you can’t turn out autonomous and confident learners if you do assessment to them. I think they have to be part of the assessment process, I think they have to learn the skills of the assessment process”- Shane
  • He advocates for the co-creation of assessment outcomes between teachers and students.
  • This approach will lend itself to churning out more self regulated & reflective learners.
  • At Nurture, we help teachers gather more self reflections from students after each submission.
  • He also mentions assessment should be ‘dialogic’ or in other words, very much a two way process.
  • Shane says ideally what we want is a learning journey with lots of different touchpoints, with lots of different stakeholders all adding their voice, to help students develop their work overtime. At Nurture we really want those touchpoints; that learning journey, to be visualised. We want to show progress - or lack thereof - on the journey. That’s why we want to create a learner passport for every student.
  • “Helping students to recognise the things they have learned, the things they’ve developed, and to be able to evidence those, that becomes a really important function of their learning and teaching interaction.”

Philip Le Feuvre- NCFE:

  • NCFE assess approximately 400,000 students/year.
  • Philip advocates for more formative assessment in order to rebalance from past focus on summative as the critical point in the learning journey.
  • He also speaks about being able to help students identify where they are in their learning journey.
  • Expressed fears that the contemporary teaching and learning practices are beginning to stretch beyond the technologies that are available to teachers and that concerns him.
  • At Nurture, we believe teacher burnout to the extent seen during the pandemic can’t continue.
  • Philip advocates for needing assessment that “builds trust and confidence in the learners so actually through the assessments individuals feel more confident about their skills and understand themselves better and trust that assessment process”.
  • Below you can see Nurture helping teachers keep track of student confidence on each assessment.

If you have found this summary interesting, the e-assessment conference is on the 21st and 22nd of June. The annual International e-Assessment Conference & Awards is the world’s foremost digital assessment conference organised by the e-Assessment Association. More details

Interested in Nurtures software for formative assessment and feedback?

You can book your 1-1 demo of Nurture below.