NCTJ and Cirrus win prestigious international e-Assessment award

The NCTJ’s Essential Journalism examination, introduced last November on the Cirrus Assessment platform, has been recognised in the inaugural International e-Assessment Awards.

The awards, organised by the e-Assessment Association, celebrate the outstanding contributions that technology makes to all forms of assessment and showcase the very best practice, research and innovation. The awards cut across all forms of education: from school, through further and higher education to workplace training and professional examinations.

The NCTJ’s Essential Journalism examination won the award category for the best use of summative assessment. The other award categories are: lifetime contribution, formative assessment, innovation, best institution, research, and export.

Although the use of technology in assessment is growing, traditional paper-based examinations still dominate. The NCTJ is committed to running as many of its examinations online as possible and has been at the forefront of using cutting-edge technology for its high-stakes assessments in partnership with Cirrus Assessment.

Speaking after the ceremony, Joanne Butcher, NCTJ chief executive said:

“The role of the modern journalist is digital so when our essential journalism syllabus was introduced it made perfect sense to use an innovative digital assessment platform.

“We are grateful to the fantastic team at Cirrus Assessment for working with us to design a new form of online assessment to test digital journalism skills. The tight deadlines we set and use of technology have made this a challenging but rewarding project.

“We were thrilled to be on the shortlist but to win has given a real boost to our confidence. I would like to put on record my thanks to NCTJ centres for rising to the challenge of introducing the new assessment, particularly those that supported the initial testing: News Associates; Nottingham Trent University; Staffordshire University; and the University of Kent.”

Jeremy Carter, chief sales officer at Cirrus Assessment, said:

“We have greatly enjoyed working with the NCTJ on their e-assessment project. They have shown great determination to provide assessments that appropriately fit the demands placed on today's multimedia journalists and their vision and passion has been infectious. We are incredibly proud that this partnership has been recognised with such a prestigious award.”

John Winkley, chair of the awards judging panel, said:

“We chose the NCTJ and Cirrus Assessment as the winners of this award based on a number of factors.  Their focus on valid assessment by simulating an important aspect of the work of today’s journalists was evident throughout the submission. It was also clear they had gone to great lengths to maximise the candidate experience. In addition, the cost-effective rollout of their solution was impressive. They were worthy winners.”