The world of work is changing rapidly, and universities need to adapt their curricula and assessment practices to prepare students for the future. One important change is the need to digitalize their assessment platforms. Digital assessments offer a number of advantages over traditional paper-based assessments, including efficiency, effectiveness, security, and accessibility.
In addition to digitalizing their assessment platforms, universities also need to start including soft skills, attitudes, and behavior assessments as part of their offering. Soft skills are becoming increasingly important in the workplace, as employers are looking for graduates who can think critically, solve problems, and work effectively in teams.
Finally, universities need to focus on development of abilities instead of simply acquiring skills and knowledge. Abilities are important to teach students how to learn and will prepare them for a world where skills and knowledge-based tasks will predominantly be handled by artificial intelligence embedded in all productivity software. Abilities are the foundation for lifelong learning and will allow graduates to successfully navigate employment opportunities shifting towards increasingly creative tasks.
By digitalizing their assessment platforms and including soft skills, attitudes and behavior assessments, focusing on development of abilities, universities can deploy numerous programs using key data-driven processes and constantly maintain visibility of the evolution of their student’s abilities, soft skill competencies, and grades.
Need to digitalize assessment platforms
Digitalized assessments offer a number of advantages over traditional paper-based assessments, and even digital versions of such, including:
- Efficiency, effectiveness and enhanced visibility: Digital assessments in a digitalized platform can be marked and graded much more quickly and efficiently than paper-based assessments and offer a number of analysis capabilities beyond digitally recording notes, feedback, and grades. Certainly, this can free up academics to spend more time on teaching and research, but then the data from the platform can be reviewed and correlated to university level KPIs, identify opportunities for guidance interventions, expose insights on at-risk students, and be used in promotion to show how well a university is forming young minds beyond the degree.
- Security: Digital assessments are more secure than paper-based assessments, as they are less susceptible to cheating and fraud.
- Accessibility: Digital assessments can be made more accessible to students with disabilities, as they can be adapted to meet individual needs. Further, because they are sitting on a digitalized online platform, each student’s specific needs and KPIs can be examined, and the system can suggest adapted training, support and programs that could increase the student’s likelihood of success.
Need to include soft skills, attitudes and behavior assessments
In addition to digitalizing their assessment platforms, universities also need to start including soft skills, attitudes, and behavior assessments in their curricula. These skills are becoming increasingly important in the workplace, as employers are looking for graduates who can think critically, solve problems, and work effectively in teams.
Soft skills, attitudes and behavior assessments can be used to measure a student’s ability to: communicate effectively, work collaboratively, manage time effectively, be adaptable and flexible, solve problems creatively, and most important of all, think critically.
Need to focus on development of abilities
In the future of work, it will be more important for students to develop abilities rather than simply acquire skills and knowledge. The world is changing rapidly, and the skills and knowledge that are needed today may not be the same as the skills and knowledge that are needed tomorrow. The exponential evolution of useful artificial intelligence in the workplace is forcing our workforce to rely on them for productivity, acting more like supervisors to AI assistants. An employee’s ability to think critically and review an AI’s work will be essential for years to come, and therefore universities must produce graduates that have the ability to use AI in an effective manner, guiding AI through their inherent biases, hallucinations, and error to produce optimal desired results.
Therefore, a dynamic digitalized assessment system that oversees a university’s student’s abilities and offers the proper support in that regard will be essential to determine whether a university provides valuable education to its clientele.
Abilities are the foundation for lifelong learning. It encompasses our ability to think critically, to communicate effectively, to collaborate well with others/AI and to adapt to a changing landscape.
A growing need
Universities need to digitize their assessment platforms, include soft skills, attitudes and behavior assessments, and focus on development of abilities in order to prepare students for the future of work.
In fact, Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CX), Dr. Wayne Wesley, attending the CXC 48th International Association for Educational Assessment (IAEA), said “One thing that is common among us is the emerging fact [that] from the Covid-19 Pandemic…there is a collective consciousness and understanding and realization that the current educational construct must be reimagined, reformed and repositioned, particularly educational assessment.” He added, “Within this global educational village, the imperative that confronts us is to ensure that we navigate the new paradigm of digital innovation that will see us creating that balance for security and efficiency with validity and reliability.”
The new paradigm of digital innovation is digitalization of assessments, providing universities the ability to prepare our youth for an uncertain future that involves artificial intelligence, combined with focus on data and adaptable graduates.