Acceditation Bodies Success Stories

Cambridge Assessment Group creates efficiency across the whole qualification management process

June, 2015


Oxford, Cambridge and RSA Examinations (OCR), part of Cambridge Assessment, a leading UK and international accreditation body, wanted to improve the efficiency of their operations – easing logistics for centres and making assessments more fit for purpose reflecting the skills increasingly valued by employers. More than 13,000 centres choose OCR’s general and vocational qualifications and learners span all ages and abilities at school, college, in work or through part-time learning programmes. Find out how we deployed our technology to help OCR save resources, speed up turnaround of exam and coursework results and easily capture and measure fulfilment of assessment criteria from a single digital location.

“Managing student coursework involved centres gathering and marking lots of bits of paper and then sending them to OCR for verification, leaving opportunity for work to get missed or go astray, costing the centre time and money. We wanted to take a different, more intuitive approach and fully embrace the advantages of modelling the process digitally.”
Alison Pearce
Sector Specialist, IT, Creative Media, Computing and Digital Technologies, OCR

The challenge OCR faced

Part of Cambridge Assessment, OCR chose Digital Assess to manage its vocational online qualification, iMedia – the UK’s first 100% e-only coursework-based qualification. OCR wanted to offer its centres and schools vocational qualifications digitally, to streamline the assessment process, become more efficient and to ensure maximum fit for purpose delivery.

Our task was to help OCR to achieve this in relation to qualification delivery, assessment and moderation.

How we helped OCR overcome the challenge

At the pilot stage, we deployed our Digital Assess’ Manage feature for use with OCR’s international Computer Literacy and Information Technology (CLAiT) qualification.

OCR chose to run two pilots in parallel, one with Digital Assess and one with another supplier to ensure the delivery of a fair evaluation, that elicited feedback from both centre and OCR staff.

The Digital Assess assessment tools let users digitally manage the assigning, gathering, handing in and marking students’ work and its final, secure submission to OCR for moderation by OCR’s external moderators.

Users access the system through a highly intuitive interface tailored to their needs and designed to echo the approaches taken by popular everyday technology solutions, minimising the training requirement. Learners upload their reflections, comments and evidence of their work to a digital portfolio from where they can also link to assessment tasks. Meanwhile, assessors and internal verifiers then evaluate this ‘evidence’ against assessment criteria.

Meanwhile, OCR staff, senior moderators and managers securely log in to access the specific functionality they need to manage moderator allocation, sampling and the moderation process itself. There they can use our on-screen ‘annotate‘ feature to leave moderation notes and marks directly on to students’ work, in context and regardless of file format.

The difference we made

Following their pilot, OCR extended the use of Digital Assess to its iMedia qualification, which improves learners’ creative digital skills, and have now embarked on a five year programme to expand the use of Digital Assess across an increasing range of Cambridge National and Cambridge Technical qualifications for delivery across the UK and internationally. While learners continue to attend centres and lectures in person, they now use Digital Assess as an integral part of the course, uploading evidence of their work to the system according to assigned tasks.

– For learners

Not only can learners work with the digital tools they are most familiar with, including via mobile devices, but they are also able to track their own progress, collaborate with others as appropriate and reflect on their own learning, which provides a rich learning experience and develops the ‘soft skills’ vital for the workplace.

“Our aim is to ensure that we have a range of online assessment tools that are efficient, high quality and also easy to use. We feel that our partnership with Digital Assess provides us with these capabilities and are looking forward to delivering a number of our vocational assessments through this platform.”

– Charlotte Bosworth,
Director of Skills and Employment, OCR

– For OCR

OCR now has a more secure, streamlined process for the distribution of qualifications and the marking and moderation process.

Assessors can measure student evidence against the assessment criteria associated with the assignment for internal verifiers to sign off. The centre can smoothly submit unit samples and marks to OCR for online external verification and moderation – all from a single digital location.

And OCR gets to see work in the format in which it was created, leading to a more reliable, robust awarding process.

“Digital Assess enables learners to work at their own pace, express creativity through the wide range of digital formats, be fully supported by their tutors throughout their course and evidence their capabilities through technology they use in their everyday lives, increasing engagement”.
Alison Pearce
‎ Sector Specialist, IT, Creative Media, Computing and Digital Technologies, OCR

The Digital Assess legacy

More than 600 schools, colleges and tertiary training organisations use Digital Assess to deliver and assess vocational qualifications like iMedia.

We’ve enabled OCR to reliably and easily capture and measure the fulfilment of assessment criteria – even learners’ ‘soft-skills’, such as creativity, research, collaboration, problem solving and communicating creative concepts effectively – skills that businesses demand.

There have been considerable time and costs savings too. The ability to assign, manage and submit all coursework electronically saves centres thousands of pounds each year in printing and postage. There’s no longer a need to ship coursework around the country. Moderators undertake less travelling – everything can be done by simply logging on to Digital Assess.

These time savings mean that OCR can be confident of being able to turn around results and more quickly. And a richer learning experience, accessible online at any time, makes for much more satisfied learners.