Title: Service-oriented flexible and interoperable assessment: towards a standardised e-assessment system

Authors: Mohammad AL-Smadi, Christian Guetl

Addresses: Graz University of Technology, Infeldgasse 16c, 8010 – Graz, Austria. ' Graz University of Technology, Infeldgasse 16c, 8010 – Graz, Austria; Curtin Business School, Curtin University of Technology, GPO Box U1987, Perth, WA 6845, Australia

Abstract: Free-text answers assessment has been a field of interest during the last 50 years. Several free-text answers assessment tools underpinned by different techniques have been developed. In most cases, the complexity of the underpinned techniques has caused those tools to be designed and developed as stand-alone tools. The rationales behind using computers to assist learning assessment are mainly to save time and cost, as well as to reduce staff workload. However, utilising free-text answers assessment tools separately form the learning environment may increase the staff workload and increase the complexity of the assessment process. Therefore, free-text answers scorers have to have a flexible design to be integrated within the context of the e-assessment system architectures taking advantages of software-as-a-service architecture. Moreover, flexible and interoperable e-assessment architecture has to be utilised in order to facilitate this integration. This paper discusses the importance of flexible and interoperable e-assessment. Moreover, it proposes a service-oriented flexible and interoperable architecture for futuristic e-assessment systems. Nevertheless, it shows how such architecture can foster the e-assessment process in general and the free-text answers assessment in particular.

Keywords: e-assessment; electronic assessment; free-text answers; middleware; learning tools; interoperability; SOA; software engineering; service-oriented architecture; SaaS; software as a service; flexible assessment; interoperable assessment; standardised systems; stand-alone tools; computers; learning assessments; time saving; cost saving; staff workloads; workload reduction; learning environments; complexity; answer scorers; flexible design; interoperable architecture; standards; visualisation; continuing education; life-long learning; automatic free-text evaluation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCEELL.2011.042789

International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning, 2011 Vol.21 No.4, pp.289 - 307

Published online: 04 Oct 2011 *

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