Investigating the feasibility of using digital representations of work for performance assessment in engineering

Document Type

Journal Article


Faculty of Education and Arts


School of Education




Williams, P. J. (2012). Investigating the feasibility of using digital representations of work for performance assessment in engineering. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 22(2), 187-203. Available here


This paper reports on the results of a 3-year study conducted at the Centre for Schooling and Learning Technologies (CSaLT) at Edith Cowan University in collaboration with the Curriculum Council of Western Australia which concerns the potential to use digital technologies to represent the output from assessment tasks in the senior secondary course, Engineering Studies. The general aim of this study is to explore the potential of various digitally-based forms for external assessment for senior secondary courses in terms of manageability, cost, validity and reliability. The problem being addressed was the need to provide students with assessment opportunities in new courses, that are on one hand authentic, where many outcomes do not lend themselves to being assessed using pen and paper over a three hour period, while on the other hand being able to be reliably and manageably assessed by external examiners. That is, the external assessment for a course needs to accurately and reliably assess the outcomes without a huge increase in the cost of assessment. A computer managed examination was designed that consisted of a design task that was broken down into a number of timed activities. Students were paced through each activity, recording their input in the form of a portfolio. Input consisted of text, graphics through a camera, video and voice. The exam outputs were uploaded to a online repository. The students' work was marked by external assessors using a standards based rubric that allowed the students work to be ranked though Rasch Modelling.



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