Collection: ATS2020: Technology and Tools for Assessment of Transversal Skills

ATS2020 - Tools and Technology: bibliography + research

Tags: summative assessment, formative assessment, transversal skills, platforms, LMS, ePortfolio, CMS, ATS2020, assessment

ATS2020 - Assessment of Transversal Skills (for students, aged 10 to 15 years): Techology and Tools

This is a Mahara collection of products (and processes) of Work Package 2: Technology and Tools

It bases of the work of the ATS2020 WP2 key partners: Anastasia Economou, Nicolas Kanaris, Haris Zacharatos, John Hurley, Jarmo Viteli, Reet Taimsoo, Hele Lukki-Lukin, Anne Mai Saar, Peter Baumgartner,  Bernhard Ertl, Isabell Grundschober, Tina Gruber-Mücke, and Andrea Ghoneim. It contains valuable contributions of other ATS2020 partners, namely Mitja Čepič Vogrinčič and Dora Nousia. Editing: Andrea Ghoneim

Please note that this should be considered a semi-official space, especially as the documents collected here are considered documents with restricted access (for project partners). They mainly inform the project ATS2020 and are not intended to be public. As they give a good insight into our work, you can have a glance at them, anyway. And you are, of course, welcome to comment!

Learn more about ATS2020 at the official project website at

WP2: Overview

ATS2020 Work package 2: Technology and Tools

WP Lead: DUK (Danube University Krems, Department of Interactive Media and Educational Technologies)

Essential Partners: CPI (Cyprus Pedagogical Institute Latsia, Nicosia), INNOVE (Foundation of INNOVE, Talinn, Estonia), H2 Learning Limited, Dublin, Ireland, UTA (University of Tampere)


D. 2.1: Specification of Tools for a Formative Assessment Process

D. 2.2: Describe Tools and Affordances for Student-centered Learning and Assessment

D. 2.3: Customisation/development of Tools

D. 2.4: Support for Key users, evaluation and further development of the tools


Assessment and/with Technology and Tools: Bibliography for ATS2020



Preliminary Bibliography for ATS2020 Deliverables 2.1 (Functional Specification) and 2.2 (Tools and Technology Review). Last edit + last access to quoted URLs: 2016-04-20 (Andrea Ghoneim). URLs in brackets point at resources with restricted availablilty (subject to licensing of publishers)


Related Projects

Grading Soft Skills (GRASS) is a 3-year research project financially supported by EU (project reference number: 543029-LLP-1-2013-1-RS-KA3-KA3MP), focusing on representing soft skills of learners of various ages and at different levels of education in a quantitative, measurable way, so that these skills can become the subject of formal validation and recognition:

FASTECH - Feedback and Assessment for Students with Technology. JISC funded project run under the Assessment and Feedback programme: Strand A on Institutional Change: (JISC5/11): Unfortunately, many links of the website of the project (which ended in 2013) are broken. Still recommended: Check out the pages on Changing Assessment and Feedback practice and the "Transforming assessment and feedback case study"! IT based Methodology for Promoting, Assessing and validating Competence oriented learning and Training (IMPACT). The project website contains to date (May 2016) mainly content related to Validation...

MENTEP: Mentoring Technology-enhanced pedagogy:

SELFIE: Self-reflection tool for digitally capable schools:


Internal pages (for project partners/logged-in users)


The ATS2020 project is funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

ATS2020: Tweets

Tools, Platforms, and bases for learner-centered, assessment-based work in classroom. Andrea's ATS2020 blog RSS

Assessment of Transversal Skills 2020: an Erasmus + Project under Key Action 3: Support for Policy Reform

Coordination: CPI, Cyprus  - Duration: March 2015 - February 2018

Tags: ATS2020

Looking forward to the ATS2020 final conference

Happy New Year!

This is the finish of the ATS2020 project. We piloted the Assessment of Transversal Skills for students of lower secondary schools across Europe. Now we are looking forward to sharing our results and learnings with you through our final conference. On February 2, 2018 we will have a full-day event at the Flemish Parliament in Brussels, entitled "Transversal Skills for the 21st Century". Please check out the programme at the ATS2020 website and register (no fee)!

WP2 of ATS2020, the one on Technology and Tools for formative (and partly summative) assessment, is documented here, in this Mahara collection. However, we like to emphasize that we will be also On site in Brussels with "Workshop 1: ePortfolios: Pedagogical Contexts and Choosing an ePortfolio Platform" (by Nicolas Kanaris and Andrea Ghoneim) and with a poster on Patterns of Formative Assessment for ePortfolio Learning. The poster and the underlying document is available as Deliverable 2.1.5 via this Mahara Collection. Isabell Grundschober of Danube University Krems, who is the main author/editor of the Pattern Collection will present the poster in the framework of the school showcase at the Flemish Parliament.

Hoping to see you there!

Google Classroom and Mahara compared by students


IES Rosalia de Castro is a school participating in the ATS2020 pilot in Santiago the Compostela. As we had our partner meeting in Santiago, we had the chance to be welcomed in the school on Thursday, October 6, and, more than that, the students had prepared presentations for us.

Some of the presentations focused on a comparison between Mahara and Google Classroom. The positive points of Mahara were – among others – that is is responding fast and convinces by a high level of interactivity. Having said that, students would like to have better possibilities to find/compare information and to have the chance to work without connection and then to synchronize their data.

Students find Google Classrooms more intuitive to use and find it more „efficient“ because all the work is done in one place.

One of their teachers, Alberto Sacido Romero, who also coordinates ATS2020 work at IES Rosalia de Castro, is using Google Classroom since September 2014 – being one of the first users. A smaller ATS2020 group visits him later in the afternoon for a special session.

He shows us how a class is set up and how Google Classroom looks from the teacher's view. It is indeed easy to handle and rich in features in the same time. Especially the functions for searching and the way information is structured, is convincing. However: How could students make their own ePortfolio with it? The can simply showcase and contextualize their best artefacts with the Google tools Blogger and/or Google sites. The students' blog SCQinfo ( can be an example for an eProtfolio of a class. A last question form the visitors: With Blogger, you have to have your ePortfolio published right away: Don't teachers and students miss different privacy options? Alberto doesn't feel that his students have something to hide when it comes to blogging - „on the other hand, they have a lot to show“. We thank Alberto, his fellow teachers and especially the students of IES Rosalia de Castro for an inspiring visit!


ALEKS - Adaptive Learning based on Assessment

ALEKS (Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces) is an adaptive learning assistant developed by McGrawHill Education. This blogpost, however, is neither a recommendation nor a review. I came across ALEKS via an article in SLATE

On the basis of adaptive questioning, ALEKS recommends students which steps to take next. The outcome: a classroom with students working individually, on different tasks and lessons. The teacher is their learning companion.

To quote a representative of McGraw-Hill:

“Unlike some younger tech startups, we don’t think the goal is to replace the teacher,” says Laster, the company’s chief digital officer. “We think education is inherently social, and that students need to learn from well-trained and well-versed teachers. But we also know that that time together, shoulder-to-shoulder, is more and more costly, and more and more precious.” (

What ALEKS obviously cannot do yet, either, is to help the students to determine their own learning goals. As it looks to me, ALEKS recommends them learning units on the basis of the outcomes of a small test. Such tests are still better to assess knowledge than skills. And even if skills can be assessed (ATS2020 made an attempt to assess skills in its Pilot Evaluation, basing on the Estonian Testing System EIS), and tailormade lessons on the basis of such an assessment are displayed for every student, the process lacks an important milestone: the autonomous learning path of the student.

If the student is not actively involved into setting his/her learning goals, s/he will always wait for an algorithm to show her/him the way to a solution of a problem. Active learners who become lifelong learners have to be more self-directed when it comes to learning.

However, this doesn't mean that adaptive learning tools like ALEKS should be banned from the classroom. They could open spaces for individualised, learner-centered work in the classroom. And they can always give us ideas about what is possible when artificial intelligence serves as an assistant in the classroom.

Mahara for ATS2020 upgraded to version 17.04

Mahara for ATS2020 is now upgraded to version 17.04. A presentation was added to the page "ATS2020 User Support - Guides for Tools" to show some new features of Mahara 17.04. Further guidance material will follow, we also plan webinars for project partners and ATS2020 teachers and trainers in Autumn 2017.

ATS2020 furthermore  can proudly point at the fact that part of the Mahara Upgrade was programmed for the ATS2020 project. We even got a "Thank you" card for our contribution which you can find as an attachment to this blog entry. Programming work for Mahara/ATS2020 was done by Gregor Anzelj, and we like to thank him here, again.

Padlet - useful with Mahara and as a Stand-Alone ePortfolio Tool

Padlet's motto is that it is the easiest way for online collaboration. That's true, indeed. There is hardly any other tool that makes it so easy to start without much of a registration procedure - or, actually, if you use it for brainstorming, without any registration procedure at all.

Even if you (as a teacher) create a Padlet Wall for your students' brainstorming activities, it hardly takes you more than 30 seconds. If you still feel like having an explanation or seeing more ideas what you can do with Padlet in the classroom, you could consult the Padlet Blog Entry of HPS Digital (the blog is run by the admin of Hopkinton Public Schools).

Padlet also offers a plan for schools, including better (classroom) management, the possibility of creating ePortfolios, a controlled environment and more security. There are also some video tutorials online showing the procedure of creating an ePortfolio with Padlet. Here is an example :-)

As an incurable Mahara-lover, I appreciate the possibility to create Padlets and to embed them into Mahara views. Padlets can be embedded in many environments.


Learning Analytics as a Basis for Self Assessment?

The ATS2020 Partner Meeting in March 2017 was able to welcome Riina Vuorikari from the JCR to work with us on Learning Analytics. Basis for the workshop, held at CARNET in Zagreb, was the JRC Report Research Evidence on the Use of Learning Analytics. Implications for Education Policy.

As the workshop is already described in Isabell Grundschobers Blogpost on "Learning Analytics @ School", I use this blogpost to quote my favourite paragraphs from the report:

"Students should know that analytics are there to support them, not as a form of surveillance. They should add their own data, be able to correct the process." (p.35)

"A shift towards student reflection, formative assessment and the development of skills and competences will move analytics away from a focus on current measurable outcomes and towards support for the holistic process of learning. This will need to be done in the context of both formal and informal learning." (p.39)

The report shows the state of the art of implementation of Learning Analytics, case studies and an inventory of Learning Analytics tools. It is a great basis for thinking about how Learning Analytics can be used - and to refelct about their purpose.



ATS2020 Resources Portal

The ATS2020 Resources Portal does not only help Project Partners to share their resources, it is also open to teachers, students, parents who are interested in learner-centered, assessment-based learning. The Portal which was opened at, contains guides for the project's main learning environments, Mahara and Office 365/OneNote Class Notebook. It also offers some resources on assessment with ePortfolios - including a MOOC. A very valuable pool within the Portal is the collection of Learning Designs which can be browsed by subject or filtered, focusing on the transversal skills which are in the Focus of ATS2020: Information Literacy, Autonomous Learning, Creativity and Innovation, and Communication and Collaboration. The learning designs do already contain scaffolding tools for assessment - by the learner him-/herself, by Peers and by the teacher. While the selection of resources already looks impressive today, it can be expected that this ePortfolio of Assessment of Transversal Skills will grow further as the project proceeds, and stopping by at frequently will always be rewarded by new content.

Authentic Assessment and ePortfolios

Authentic assessment can be something that prepares students for real life. I just found an example in the blog of Desire to Learn. There, Marsha Bayless, educator at a business school, shows, How Authentic Assessment Can Help Students Prepare for the Real World. She uses videos as an assignment. Subject of the video assignment can be an interview - as the students might have IRL if they apply for an internship.

Even though ATS2020 students are too young to apply for internships, there might be other scenarios in which you can imagine authentic assessments: show collaboration skills in a video of a school event a group of students has organized, demonstrate digital literacy by offering a guided tour through a webquest/search scenario done with screencasting software, podcasting a discussion and thus delivering a proof of communication skills etc.

The same tools (video, audio recording, ...) can BTW serve as tools for (peer) feedback or formative assessment - and they can easily handed over to the peer by attaching them to a short written comment. The audio and video files are in the same time artefacts which can be embedded or collected in your ePortfolio.

Assessment with Mahara and OneNote Class Notebook

While experimenting with the Rubrics plugin for Mahara, I came across the presentation of Makoto Miyazaki at Mahara HUI 2015 in Auckland, NZ. In "Rubric plugin: Assessment for/of Learning in Mahara" he talks about outcomes based course design, learning and reflection and assessment for/of learning. He draws eye-catching pictures to support his ideas which can be used well to illustrate processes of reflective learning, feedback and grading/assessment of learning. 

Brendan Cawley of Coláiste Pobail Setanta school in Dublin, Ireland shows Assessment for Learning Using OneNote Class Notebooks in Microsoft's Office blogs (published in May 2016). He lets readers participate in the school's learning journey. For the assessment process, students are guided by learning objectives and can assess themselves using a checklist and Bloom's taxonomy.

The examples can serve as a guideline for the ATS2020 assessment process, keeping in mind, however, that learning outcomes are based in our model on negotiations between students (who set their own goals) and teachers (who outline the curricular learning targets and assist students in setting their goals). Rubrics will be elaborated on basis of the ATS2020 framework of transversal skills. Of course, ATS2020 teachers are not confined to the use of rubrics. Tools of self and peer assessment - as well as for formative assessment by the teacher can be checklists (like the one in Brendan Cawley's example), questionnaires, reflection stems, and many more.

For Mahara, you can also find a presentation of Andrea Ghoneim, explaining the ATS2020 Assessment process using Mahara. It is part of the Collection of Guides for ATS2020 Tools.


SeeSaw: An ePortfolio Space for Younger Students

Some Belgian schools of the ATS2020 project are using it as an ePortfolio space to develop and assess transversal Skills: SeeSaw. SeeSaw is a digital portfolio management system that is easy to use and allows to capture student learning in its full multimedial bandwith. Tama Trotti, K-12 teacher  describes in a blogpost on Emerging EdTech (2015) SeeSaw as a tool for "curation of student work that could be easily handled by students, accessible for parents, and alleviate storage issues with bulky notebooks". She points out how excited her students are to document and reflect their own work, and explains the benefits of peer-to-peer interaction and of parents who stay updated about their kid's learning journey via the SeeSaw ePortfolio.

The licence issue should be kept in mind, however:

"Seesaw is free for teachers and parents. However, if a school would like to have a student’s portfolio move with them from year to year, there is a fee for this and you will need to contact Seesaw directly for more information. If parents would like to continue to keep their student’s portfolio there is a storage fee for that as well and parents can sign up directly with Seesaw." (Trotti 2015)

SeeSaw features look very convincing: Besides the multimedia capture of student learning and a good management interface for teachers, there are multiple ways of communicating - even with other classrooms (which can be at any school worldwide, eg. a partner school). SeeSaw Plus offers an assessment tool which looks very convenient for teachers. It has to be tested whether this tool is inline with the learner-centered approach of formative feedback, though.

I'm looking forward to try it out myself and to hear about the experience of the ATS2020 partners!