Assessment

Taskstream Debuts Aqua Assessment Tool

Taskstream, a provider of assessment and e-portfolio technology for higher education, has introduced a new assessment tool called Aqua.

Rather than retooling one of its existing products, the company decided to design Aqua from scratch using high-performing, scalable architecture and user-centered design principles with the goal of developing a simple, lightweight application. Webster Thompson, president of Taskstream, said he believes the resulting product "will enable colleges and universities to assess student learning more sustainably and use outcomes data to inform meaningful change."

Key features of Aqua include:

  • Multiple options for collecting student work, including bulk upload by a coordinator, manual upload by an instructor, or student submission through the LMS;
  • Streamlined interfaces for scoring student work with rubrics;
  • Visual reports for monitoring real-time student performance data; and
  • Option of distributing student work to calibrated evaluators, with or without student anonymity.

The Multi-State Collaborative (MSC) To Advance Learning Outcomes Assessment, which is an initiative led by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO), used Aqua for its pilot study of rubric-based assessment of students' skills in quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and written communications. According to a news release from Taskstream, "97 percent of scorers who responded [to a post-study survey] found the technology to be 'easy' or 'very easy' to use," and the MSC project plans to continue to use Aqua as it expands to include more states and institutions.

Further information about Aqua can be found on Taskstream's site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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