The post below is an excerpt taken from the first case study in our series with the National Agency for Education in Lithuania, detailing their transition from paper-based national assessment to a computer-based testing solution. Read on to learn more about their transformation, and download the full case study for free!
Today, its more evident than ever that digital assessment is the future of large-scale testing — offering new opportunities to align learning and instruction in near real-time and allowing institutions to reach a wider more diverse audience. As more institutions are embracing digital assessment, they are now moving their large-scale testing campaigns online for the first time — an initiative that comes with unique considerations and challenges.
For the Lithuanian Ministry of Education, the journey from paper-and-pencil to digital begins with open source and ultimately leads to a custom solution. Founded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport of the Republic of Lithuania, The National Agency for Education (NSA) is responsible for implementing education policies, ensuring the quality of education and monitoring, researching and implementing educational solutions. Tasked with launching a ministry-wide digital assessment initiative, they began searching for a complete solution to bring their assessments online. This case study is the first in a series, describing the beginning stages of their transformation — where they first began using the open-source TAO Community Edition to bring their tests online — and details their decision to move to a custom TAO Enterprise solution to grow and scale their program.
Finding a Solution
Previously leveraging paper-and-pencil for all testing across all grade levels, NSA first began a development project for bringing online testing to large-scale assessment in 2018. From there, the goal was to completely shift their educational testing model from paper-based assessment to digital within a 2-3 year time frame.
To support the Lithuanian Ministry of Education’s transition from paper-and-pencil to computer-based testing, NSA first sought a flexible, open digital assessment solution to support a smaller population of students. They were keen to leverage an open source platform with an active community of users around the world that would allow them to provide a complete solution for digital testing. That’s when they found TAO.
NSA Pilots their Digital Assessment Program with TAO Core
When NSA initially began searching for assessment providers, TAO Core, TAO’s open source platform edition, was a natural fit to get their assessments off the ground. Open source was a driving factor in their decision to utilize TAO, and appealing for a number of reasons:
- The platform was easily integratable and adaptable to other technology systems, enabling the flexibility to extend its functionality to unique contexts.
- There was a strong community of users already utilizing TAO successfully in other countries, providing more opportunity for innovation and collaboration.
- NSA could host the Core Edition using their own network resources to pilot their digital assessment program before launching in full.
NSA first used TAO to introduce IT Matura exams within the department in order to demonstrate the capabilities of online testing to key stakeholders in their digital initiative. Slowly introducing additional subjects, they were successfully able to deliver tests to between 2,000 – 3,000 participants in a year using the Core Edition.
However, as the number of subjects increased, they uncovered challenges in measuring more complex competencies, delivering tests containing multimedia files, and large-scale delivery due to network hosting issues. NSA ultimately realized that they required support and more customized functionality to fully scale their computer-based testing program and switch to a digital assessment model in their planned time frame.
Download the full case study to follow NSA’s journey, and keep up with this series to discover how education leaders in Lithuania are using TAO as the catalyst to spark complete digital transformation.