Apr 072014
 

reflector

April 7, 2014

An East Carolina University researcher has developed and licensed a competency-based assessment technology that generates cumulative, real-time evaluations of students, faculty, curricula and programs.

ECU has granted AAL Informatics the exclusive license of the competency-based assessment technology. The Atlanta-based informatics company plans to introduce the technology globally to secondary and higher education institutions under the trademark XComP.
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Dr. R. Todd Watkins Jr., assistant dean of dental education and informatics at the ECU School of Dental Medicine, said the assessment tool he created is the culmination of many years of work. Every higher education program is required to assess overall student performance based on competencies — demonstrated knowledge, skills and values. Institutions typically have relied on grades and course performance to make these assessments, though they are both imperfect gauges of competency, Watkins said.

XComP, derived from “eXtensible Competencies Platform,” makes it possible for schools to assess all outcomes from all courses mapped to specific competencies.

The platform captures all data needed for university self-study and program accreditation. XComP culls thousands of detailed pieces of data from exams, skills assessments and other coursework, and displays it graphically on a grid, rendering an accurate picture of student performance. The grid allows students, faculty and administrators to identify strengths, weaknesses and curriculum deficits.

“XComP has significant implications not only for student assessment, but also for program and school evaluation,” Dr. Karl Haden, CEO of AAL Informatics, said.

XComP also can turn non-traditional outcomes systems into assessment technologies. In health sciences, XComP can use clinical systems to evaluate student performance in patient care. For disciplines that require particular competence in performing tasks, the platform combines these assessments with traditional exams and reports to give a real evaluation of student performance across competencies.

“This project is a perfect example of how universities can help develop products from research projects,” Marti Van Scott, director of ECU’s Office of Technology Transfer, said. “Today is the culmination of a process that shows that ECU is well positioned to help our faculty members change the world.”

The Office of Technology Transfer worked with Watkins for five years to develop XComP’s U.S. and international patents.

“ECU was founded as a teachers’ college,” Chancellor Steve Ballard said. “The XComP technology development and transfer is an example of ECU’s continued focus on being a leader in educational pedagogy and technology.”

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