Winners 2017

Find out more about the winners from the first year of the Awards

Winners 2017

Best Institution

On behalf of the IoD, the Head of Assessments and Professional Standard would like to highlight the rapid 15 month transformational change and the Can Do attitude demonstrated through the implementation of e-assessment and particularly remote invigilation. Not only has this evolution increased our candidate numbers, enhanced security and provided us with a far greater range of data, it has also transformed our exams operations from distinctly traditional to a format that mirrors the IoD’s vision and values in ‘Inspiring Business’. Our entry tells the story of our evolution, our journey, our transformation and our new horizon.

The initial challenge was to provide greater convenience, flexibility, lower carbon footprint and above all, security in its examination operations. There was also a desire to convey the message that the IoD is forward looking and innovative in its approach to assessment rather than traditional and reminiscent of old school times.

Best Use of Formative Assessment

FormativeAssess is an intelligent system that simulates the role of an expert mentor using data-mining techniques in all project based working situations and grows with the learner to ask relevant questions and engage in conversation that is truly formative.

The project has taken a proven weakness in the pedagogy that underpins the development of 21st century skills and used formative research expertise and evidence, artificial intelligence, semantic indexing and a rubber duck to create an innovative service. A digital dialogue agent designed to facilitate and support the delivery of soft skills and employability teaching in busy classrooms, FormativeAssess provides real-time formative assessment feedback in order to nurture the creative process, not interrupt it.

As a standalone web service or app it is available 24/7 with the functionality to contextualise questions, collect responses and analyse and report the interaction depending on the needs of the user. Whether it is embedded in a learning platform by an institution or downloaded as an app by a student, the system can be employed to improve the performance and the grades of all who use it across a range of competencies and contexts.

Winners 2017
Winners 2017

Best Use of Summative Assessment

The introduction of e-assessment by the National Council for the Training of Journalists was a huge step for the organisation and for the journalism industry as a whole. Faced with growing challenges around the authenticity and security of their paper based exams and demands from a fast changing digital media industry, the NCTJ needed to make bold decisions. They chose to revolutionise the journalism industry’s examination system, which had been in place for over 65 years, and successfully delivered a new e-assessment programme including innovative video and editing within 12 months. The selection of a relatively new to market, innovative assessment platform from Cirrus Assessment played a key role in this success.

This submission detailed how the project was delivered and highlighted how a holistic approach, with support for all those involved, led to great results for learners, examiners, training providers and the NCTJ.

It is a blueprint on how the introduction of technology for high stakes summative assessment can greatly strengthen the authenticity and validity of the exam, whilst also providing tangible benefits to everyone involved. Close collaboration between the NCTJ, Cirrus Assessment, training providers and students coupled with detailed project planning has ensured that all are now toasting its success.


Edinburgh Business School at Heriot-Watt University has 11,271 active students studying in 166 countries so our programme is truly international with only 27 students studying on campus in Edinburgh. EBS is a UK market leader in the distance-learning MBA and this transition to e-assessment demonstrates a continued commitment to our students and their needs worldwide in a very competitive field.

Our MBA is designed to offer flexibility to its students, providing mid-career professionals the ability to study without taking a career break. Geographical location is no barrier to study and assessment. The programme is self-paced and students sit an exam when they are ready. There is no time limit on their programme registration and they can take their exams in one of 450 exam centres worldwide.

To enhance this flexibility, we launched e-assessment – students can take their exam in the same way they work, on a computer. This met the demands of students and demonstrates our vision to lead and innovate in a competitive market. With the launch of e-assessment in March 2016, student response has been positive with 98% of students staying with it for the remainder of their exams.

Winners 2017
Winners 2017


Digital Assess' Formative Assess project scooped two awards on the evening of the first Gala Dinner. The Executive Summary of the project is above, under the Best Use of Formative Assessment. Each category was judged by a separate independent panel of experts.

FormativeAssess is premised on the notion that language lies at the heart of human endeavour and that encouraging learners to talk about their work – to formalise their ideas in such a way that they can express them to us – will help them to think more deeply about them, to understand them better and to explore them more fully. The power of conversation will support and enrich learners’ thoughts and ideas. In project-based learning settings, the tutorial-style conversations between teachers and learners are regarded as critical to the support of individuals as they pursue original solutions to their chosen tasks.

The electronic avatar in FormativeAssess, a semantic engine incorporated in the system, has been designed to respond appropriately and helpfully in a dialogue with learners, allowing the tutor to maximise the impact of their time across the whole class/group. It enhances project-based learning by providing opportunities for ‘digital dialogue’ that supports formative assessment through learners developing skills in critical self-reflection. FormativeAssess thus becomes a self-supporting formative tool that intrinsically supports the learning process with little additional impact on the teaching overhead.


This research project has the potential to have significant impact on e-assessment of pre-registration student nurses and aims to show new insights into how audio feedback can be used for formative assessments.

Whilst effective feedback can promote and consolidate learning enabling deeper understanding and realignment of concepts (Race, 2001; Watling, 2014) overall students continue to remain dissatisfied with feedback (HEFCE, 2013).

Written feedback is more widely used within nursing but the use of differing methods which incorporate technology and demonstrate “good feedback” principles may be more effective (Race, 2005; Tong, 2011). Audio feedback is flexible, accessible, personalized and easier to understand but has been used predominantly within educational disciplines (Merry and Orsmond, 2008; Lunt and Curran, 2010) and there is a lack of published literature in relation its use in pre-registration nurse education (Lunt and Curran, 2010; Haxton and McGarvey, 2011; Bourgault, Mundy and Joshua, 2013).

Given this lack of research related to use of audio feedback within pre-registration nurse education the aim of this qualitative research project is to gain insight into the experiences of pre-registration adult student nurses in relation to audio feedback for formative assessment and to identify issues/benefits that may potentially be applicable to other contexts.

Winners 2017
Winners 2017

Lifetime Contribution

Dr Bob Gomersall is a business leader and teacherpreneur with the ambition to improve the quality and process of assessment through the judicious application of technology. Throughout his career, Bob has endeavoured to dramatically improve education by applying his innovative spirit to inspire colleagues and fellow educators.

Bob is the sole or part owner of 3 very successful businesses: BTL, The Virtual College and ADI, all based in Yorkshire, UK. Each business focuses on different core areas - assessment, vocational training and assessment, and high-tech healthcare R&D, but all share the same principle of technology services for improving education and healthcare.

More innovation and leadership in e-Assessment is yet to come from Bob, and not a day goes by when his colleagues are not faced with a new ideas to change assessment for the better. Bob is driven by his passion for education and technology and is a leader in his field. It is for this passion that Bob’s commitments deserve recognition from the e-Assessment community.

To view the full shortlist from 2017, please click here.