Turning education and skills policy into practice

Technology-based assessment

We are world leaders in helping certification agencies select, procure and deploy technology for assessment such as on-screen testing, marking and e-portfolio systems.

Since 2000, we have been supporting certification agencies with design, procurement, delivery and evaluation of on-screen assessments.

AlphaPlus is a recognised leader in technology relating to qualifications, assessment and certification, including e-testing and e-portfolios systems, item banks and assessment authoring systems, adaptive testing, student performance monitoring systems, and back-office systems for certification agencies.

We support the technology cycle from conception to deployment and support: we advise on technology options, write specifications, manage procurements and vendor demonstration, provide training and capacity development, and manage technical implementation work for our clients.

In the UK our team has designed and deployed systems (working with vendors) for some of the largest and highest-stakes on-screen testing programmes. Internationally, we have written technical specifications and supported vendor selection processes for clients that include the Supreme Education Council in Qatar.

Design and Procurement of e-assessment

We offer our clients the benefits of:

  • detailed understanding of the issues affecting the validity and reliability of assessments as they are moved from on-paper to on-screen delivery modes, including the move to on-screen marking and moderation processes
  • global market knowledge of technology suppliers and their products to assist with effective procurement

Our work often starts with feasibility analysis – investigating the potential for moving established assessment programmes to on-screen testing, considering such issues as validity, comparability, reliability, practicability and fair access for all candidates.  We write procurement specifications for technology systems and support activities such as market testing, piloting and implementation planning.  We also provide due diligence support for organisations looking to acquire technology companies working in e-assessment.

Development and delivery of e-assessment

Our knowledge of e-assessment derives from practical knowledge of developing and delivering e-assessments ourselves. We provide the following services to clients in e-testing:

  • training and capacity building in the planning and use of e-assessment
  • development of large banks of assessment items for delivery on-screen, including complex items based on simulation and use of in-test applications such as word processors and spreadsheets
  • managing quality assurance, test trialling and calibration activities
  • supporting the roll-out of e-testing and e-marking

Evaluation of e-assessment

Ensuring that on-screen testing and marking are working reliably and fairly for candidates is an important quality assurance requirement for certification agencies.  As part of our wider work on performance management of assessment, we provide support for essential assessment monitoring to a variety of academic, professional and vocational certification bodies.

E-assessment programmes that we have worked on

Our team have contributed to the following e-assessment programmes:

  • UK Driving Standards Agency theory tests
  • UK Home Office, Life in the UK tests
  • on-screen GCSE, Basic Skills and Functional Skills tests for UK awarding organisations
  • vocational qualifications tests for Saudi Skills Standards
  • school testing systems for the Supreme Education Council in Qatar
  • landscape reviews of e-assessment cost-effectiveness, comparability and reliability for Ofqual, DfE and Becta
  • delivery of national surveys of adult English and mathematics for BIS
  • assessments for the Chartered Institute of Taxation and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
  • JISC’s programme of support for higher education providers delivering e-assessment

Example projects

Client: Saudi Skills Standards    
Project: Workplace e-assessment

We are developing workplace assessment for a range of vocational qualifications for delivery in on-the-job training programmes in Saudi Arabia.

Client: Chartered Institute of Taxation    
Project: SecurePDF

We provide a number of certification agencies, including CIOT, with technology to deliver secure examination papers electronically direct to centres.

Client: Various UK AOs    
Project: Functional Skills

We develop on-screen assessments for a number of UK AOs for Functional Skills (English, maths and ICT) on-screen testing.

Client UK Government Business Innovation and Skills    
Projects: Adult skills surveys in English and maths

We provide on-screen assessments and delivery systems for use in national skills surveys and monitoring projects.


The Qualification design and development team

Visit the team profile page for more information

John Winkley

Sarah Maughan

Tom Mitchell

Gavin Reynaud

Andrew Boyle

Clare Dowland

Zak Horrocks

Adaora Okechuku

Gillian Whitehouse

Professor Roger Murphy

John Hamer


John Winkley, Director

0161 238 4928