I spent today at a cpd session from the SQA at Dingwall Academy. This gave me my first opportunity to see another school in the highlands and give my throat a day off (there's quite a bad throat bug going around here).
The course was split into two sections the first on E-assessment (SOLAR) and the second was on E-portfolios and skills for life. Now both of these look like very good systems but from a computing standpoint I was more impressed with the SOLAR system (couldn't resist).
The tutorial we had today gave me a chance to look at the assessment for the Intermediate 2 Internet Safety topic which is the first course to only be tested using SOLAR. The interface was very clear and it gives the teacher control over the test and best of all... No Printing Required!
Pupils are given a unique code which they need to enter and it will give them access to the but the test will not be accessible until the teacher/tutor enters their pin to start the assessment.
The drawbacks to the program - to access the system computers must have the latest flash installed and it's not known if and how it would work on the MACs, I'll need to test that in the morning. The other slight flaw was that it doesn't automatically link to the SQA to generate qualifications, these still need to be done manually by centres.
I'd like to see this being implemented for NABs in the future, this would work well for all computing courses.