As we enter 2024, it’s time to look ahead at the innovations and advancements Cirrus is set to unveil. At Cirrus, we understand the importance of staying ahead, especially in the online exam space. This year, we are unrolling a suite of improvements and new features designed to streamline your processes and enrich your interactions with our platform.
Before we dive into the exciting updates and features planned for our platform, it’s important to note that our roadmap is an open statement of direction. It serves as a guide to where we are prioritising our efforts. Our primary focus is to ensure that the enhancements we’re working on align closely with what our customers need, and that they are implemented in the most effective manner.
That said, we remain adaptable. Should new, better ways to meet customer expectations emerge, we may adjust our plans accordingly. This flexibility allows us to stay responsive and customer-focused, ensuring that we deliver the best possible experience.
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And without further ado, let’s get into the upgrades!
Improved Manual Question Selection
One of the first enhancements you’ll experience this year is our improved manual question selection, set to go live in January. We’ve listened to your feedback and redesigned how you select question pools for your assessment forms. This upgrade isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s a functional overhaul designed to make your life easier. Expect advanced filtering, sorting, and searching capabilities that allow you to pinpoint the exact questions you need swiftly.
Additionally, integrating a read-only version of the blueprint provides a clear view of where your selected questions fit within various learning objectives, taxonomies, and topics.
The Cirrus credo has always been “Simple for beginners, advanced for experienced users”. This is perfectly embodied by our new Test Wizard, launching this winter. It is designed to simplify the creation and scheduling of exams, reducing complexities and streamlining the process.
Scheduling and Creating Assessments All in One Go
The Test Wizard is designed with a clear objective: to make your life easier. Creating and scheduling assessments is a critical task, yet it can often be bogged down by numerous steps and complex navigation. One of the hallmark features of the Test Wizard is its all-in-one approach. You can set both assessment options and scheduling details simultaneously, eliminating the need to navigate multiple sections. Meaning you’ll spend less time on procedural tasks and more time on crafting high-quality assessments.
Direct Access from Collections
Another standout feature of the Test Wizard is its accessibility. Authors can launch it directly from their collections, integrating easily into their existing workflow. This direct access eliminates the need to navigate through multiple menus or interfaces, saving time and reducing the likelihood of errors. Whether you’re planning a new assessment or modifying an existing one, the Test Wizard is just a few clicks away, integrated within the familiar environment of your Cirrus platform.
Saving and Publishing
Cirrus understands the importance of flexibility. If you cancel without saving, all changes are discarded, and you will return to your starting point in the collections. A thoughtful warning appears if you attempt to navigate away, ensuring no changes are unintentionally lost.
Post-publishing, you retain the ability to modify the exam or schedule. Whether it’s updating security settings or adding invigilators, adjustments are just a few clicks away. Standard protocols for changing assessments, like creating a new version, still apply, ensuring a balance between flexibility and structure.
Marking Submissions: Enhancing the Review Process
A significant area of improvement is the marking submissions page, an important component for educators and administrators. This page is where the magic of assessment comes together, allowing you to view candidate submissions and their corresponding statuses. You can easily track who has submitted their responses and which ones have been marked. The upcoming enhancements are not just cosmetic; they’re designed to make your interactions with the marking workflow more intuitive and effective.
Quality of Life Improvements
We’re introducing several quality-of-life improvements to this page. These developments will simplify the interface, making it more user-friendly, and enabling you to understand the marking workflow better. The ability to perform bulk actions, such as submitting scores, makes the process less cumbersome and more efficient, allowing you to focus on the quality of assessment rather than the process itself.
Grading / Marking:
We’re excited to share our latest innovation on the Cirrus platform – a completely revamped and user-friendly marking tool! This enhancement is all about making exam grading simpler and faster for educators. We will integrate the latest technology with a user-focused design, addressing common challenges in marking.
Highlights of the Enhanced Marking Tool
- Intuitive Interface: Streamlines the grading process, saving time and letting educators focus more on the content.
- Advanced Grading Options: Offers a variety of customisable grading methods, ensuring accuracy and consistency in evaluations.
- Collaborative Review: Enhances teamwork with easy sharing and commenting, leading to better feedback and improved assessment quality.
- Instant Insights: Provides immediate access to analytics and data visualisation, offering a comprehensive view of student performance and assessment effectiveness.
- AI-Powered Essay Grading: Employs advanced algorithms for auto-grading essays, offering timely, consistent evaluations and valuable insights into student work.
The Power of AI in Marking
Here’s where it gets really exciting: The AI-Powered Essay Grading feature with Blees AI, available in Cirrus. By employing advanced algorithms, it automates the grading of student essays, delivering timely and uniform evaluations. More than just an efficiency tool, it offers educators profound insights into individual student performance. This technology streamlines the evaluation process and enhances the educational experience by allowing educators to focus on personalised teaching approaches informed by detailed, AI-generated data on student progress.
Expectations for Institutions:
- Improved operational efficiency, reducing administrative load and reallocating resources towards enhancing direct student learning and experience.
- Cost savings (up to 60%) from streamlined grading processes, potentially leading to lower tuition costs.
Expectations for Test-takers:
- Timely and actionable feedback, enabling an accelerated learning curve.
- A more personalised and effective educational experience due to nuanced feedback and consistent grading.
Friends and Enemies
Next, the implementation of ‘Friend and Enemy’ questions will enhance blueprint exam design. ‘Enemy questions’ prevent the inclusion of mutually revealing questions in the same exam, while ‘Friend questions’ ensure related items are presented together for coherence. This feature streamlines exam creation, improves blueprint precision, and offers educators greater control and flexibility in designing assessments. It also optimises the exam experience for test-takers, ensuring clarity and contextual relevance, thereby elevating the overall effectiveness and efficiency of the assessment process.
Elevating the Exam Experience
Recognising today’s dynamic learning environments, we’re committed to enhancing flexibility and accessibility in our platform. With our forthcoming responsive interface, candidates will enjoy a consistent and straightforward experience across all devices, whether desktops, tablets, or smartphones. This means smoother, more intuitive exam interactions, whether in a classroom, at home, or on the move. Our focus isn’t just on following tech trends; it’s about empowering learners and educators with a more adaptable, accessible, and effective exam journey. Prepare for a new chapter in exam delivery where adaptability and excellence go hand in hand.
Looking Further Ahead: Item Creation and Reporting
As we look further into 2024, our vision includes several improvements in item creation. These enhancements will introduce more flexibility, particularly in versioning. For instance, changing learning objectives will now trigger a new item version. This feature acknowledges the evolving nature of learning content and the need for assessments to keep pace. We’re also planning an overhaul of the revision history to provide a clearer, more accessible record of changes.
Elevating Reporting Capabilities
Reporting is another area set for upgrade. We’re working on improving various aspects of reporting, including usage reports. These reports will offer insights into test delivery metrics, such as the number of tests delivered per hierarchy per month. This data is valuable for understanding engagement and utilisation, helping you make informed decisions about your assessment strategies.
Introducing the Tasks and Notification Centre
Last but certainly not least, we’re thrilled to announce the development of the brand-new Tasks and Notification Centre. This feature is all about collaboration and efficiency. It will allow users to create tasks and assign them to colleagues with set deadlines. Imagine coordinators assigning marking deadlines to assessors or item authors setting review deadlines for co-authors. This tool is designed to streamline workflows and enhance the coordination of team efforts.
The excitement is just beginning as we look forward to a transformative 2024 at Cirrus. We’re eager to share the innovative developments and new features on the horizon. We invite you to sign up for our newsletter to stay updated on all our latest advancements and not miss a beat. It’s your go-to source for Cirrus’s most recent updates and insights.
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Stay connected, stay informed, and let’s make 2024 a year of groundbreaking achievements together with Cirrus!