Past Project

e-Scape – Assessing innovation across the board

e-Scape – Assessing innovation across the board

e-Scape – Assessing innovation across the board

Commissioned by what was then BECTA, in conjunction with the Technology Education Research Unit (TERU) at Goldsmiths, University of London, as well as several UK accreditation bodies we set out to develop new ways of assessing innovation, creativity and collaboration digitally.
Initially used in the controlled assessment of coursework in GCSE Design and Technology, we provided a web-based digital portfolio along with a system allowing teachers to monitor, manage and assess creativity and collaboration between students.

Teachers and accreditation bodies captured evidence of learners’ work via digital portfolios during assessment, moderation and verification and all users could access the system via their mobile device.

A series of presentations and research papers were published as a result of this innovative project, charting its stages.


Assessment in Education: upgrading the Imperial standard

A set of rulers aligned side by side.

A set of rulers aligned side by side.

In 605AD, China invented the standardised nationwide test. Known as the ‘Imperial Examination,’ its purpose was to assess candidates for specific government positions en masse. Fast-forward to England in 1806, and the Civil Service adopted a similar mass testing model to discover suitable public servants. Standardised exams soon became a staple of the UK education system and still remain as the benchmark for measuring pupils’ abilities.

Clearly much has changed since the Imperial and Victorian ages, but some underlying principles remain the same. One of the key drivers in assessment is the need to examine what students know and if they have learnt what they have been taught, but also it is to ensure we have an education system that gives students the necessary skills for their time.

A recent report from the Department of Business Innovation and Skills states, “The principal role of Government is to provide policy stability and ensure the provision of a high quality system of education which allows all young people to embark on their adult lives with the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to succeed in contemporary society, including in the workplace.”

The modern disconnect

Employers want a workforce with the right skill set and whilst businesses are demanding young people with good academic and technical skills, they also need what is often collectively referred to as 21st Century skills or ‘Soft Skills’. However, educators are failing to meet business demands for modern skills, which is largely because assessment practices have yet to catch-up. To overcome this, a modern approach to assessment is urgently required.

The assessment of pure knowledge is not under question here. It is valid, taught at all levels and can be reliably assessed. What has been missing to date is the reliable assessment of these ‘soft skills’ including creativity, collaborative skills and problem solving.

McDonald’s backing soft skills campaign produced a report in January this year highlighting that soft-skills are worth £88bn to the UK economy.

Enter technology stage right

The significant increase in penetration of internet access and mobile devices means that learners can access information, share ideas, collaborate and capture evidence of learning wherever they are. So we can capture learning as it happens better and more effectively than we have been able to do previously.

Furthermore, we now have new technology to facilitate exceptional accuracy for both peer-to-peer and educator assessment – up to 98% reliability for open-ended assessments, which is far superior to that which can be achieved by conventional marking.

It is no longer a question of what is, or is not possible. With the technology in place we can continue to educate and assess en masse, only with 21st century skills fit for the 21st century. So that when people look back to our time, they will note that one of the most important education changes was what we assessed and how we managed to do it.

English Language Teaching Success Stories


“Digital Assess revolutionised the way we support learners and centres. It’s a change in mindset.”

– Alison Pearce,
Sector Specialist, IT, Creative Media, Computing and Digital Technologies, Oxford, Cambridge and RSA Examinations”

Acceditation Bodies Success Stories


“Historically, managing student coursework involved centres marking bits of paper and sending them for verification or managing disparate files within complicated Learner Management Systems, leaving opportunity for work to get missed, costing the centre time and money. We embraced the advantages of modelling the process digitally. Digital Assess has revolutionised the way we support learners and centres and allowed us to offer learners more flexibility in the way they take the qualification. It’s a change in mindset”.

-Alison Pearce,
Sector Specialist, Oxford, Cambridge and RSA Examinations


Chris Chambers

Chris is responsible for developing business across Digital Assess’ assessment portfolio. With 6 years’ experience, Chris has a strong track record in the business-to-business education sector, having worked at Cengage, Capita and Vision2Learn


Karen Pernyes

Karen manages press activities and events across all sectors, including co-ordinating our participation at conferences and exhibitions, press releases, media liaison and advertising.


Camila Rangel

Camila has a PhD in Particle Physics, with a strong background in data analysis, data mining, statistics and software development. She has experience implementing machine learning algorithms in academic contexts and commercial applications acquired whilst in the S2DS program (Science to Data Science 2016). Camila works with our clients to analyse their Adaptive Comparative Judgement data and with our technology teams to develop the next generation of assessment technologies using Machine Learning and Natural Language processing. Camila previously worked with one of the experiments from the Large Hadron Collider at CERN before joining Digital Assess.


Dave Cotterell

Dave is responsible for overseeing all testing and end-user support for our projects. He has managed hundreds of education and assessment-related projects during his career.


Declan Lynch

Declan was the lead developer in the e-Scape project which is where our Capture and Measure, powered by Adaptive Comparative Judgement, features originated. His career began in broadcasting working as a radio producer for the BBC in Scotland where he devised and created their first regular technology-based programme.


Digital Assess Gets $3M to Provide Evidence-Based Assessments

Digital Assess Gets $3M to Provide Evidence-Based Assessments

Digital Assess Gets $3M to Provide Evidence-Based Assessments

As reported on Edsurge – June 8, 2015 DIGITAL ASSESS: Education Investor reports that London-based startup, Digital Assess has raised $3 million from “new and existing shareholders” that include Nesta Impact Investments. Founded in 2003, Digital Assess, as its name implies, offers a suite of online assessment tools used by vocational, higher-ed and accreditation institutions to capture the entire learning process through the use of digital portfolios. More details from Tech City News.

More details from Tech City News.

Digital Assess has secured a $3m injection of funds as it looks to expand its evidence-based assessment technology business to learners and workplaces worldwide.The company saw a 97% increase in assessment technology revenues last year and with $3m of additional funds being injected into the business, the company is pushing ahead with developing into new markets and continuing to deliver innovative assessment and learning outcomes.

The company’s innovative technology supports learning at all levels – including formal education, e-learning, vocational and workplace training – and helps to better prepare learners with the skills demanded by modern workplaces. Digital assessment technology was recently recognised by analyst firm Gartner as a key innovation set to impact the education market. Dan Sandhu, chairman and CEO of Digital Assess, said: “We have a great education pedigree and are working with some of the largest education and vocational brands to solve some the key issues facing educators, assessors and learners alike. Intuitive and engaging products are at the heart of what we deliver. Our innovative technology is delivering strong benefits to businesses and educators. The support from existing and new stakeholders is a great validation of our technology, the market opportunity for Digital Assess, and the difference it will make in supporting learning. I have great confidence in our team, and believe that we really can make a difference to how evidence based assessment is carried out both in the learning and vocational environments, equipping learners with the skills they need to succeed.”

Digital Assess enables accreditation bodies; vocational and distance learning providers; the higher education sector; and workplaces to better measure and evidence practical skills. Users can harness the technology to uniquely capture a complete learning process, not just a snapshot at the end of term. It enables peer to peer assessment and also offers a unique assessment tool, utilising Digital Assess’s adaptive comparative judgement algorithms to deliver measurements with a very high level of reliability.