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2020 Virtual Conference

This conference was one of the biggest yet with over 400 registered delegates, from more than 150 organisations watching 9 hours of inspirational presentations, participating in 16 interactive online workshops, enjoying 3 incredible and informative keynotes, broadcast from 2 studios on 2 continents.

The conference was held virtually for the first time and was award-winning, taking gold in the ‘Best Online Event’ category at the 2021 UK Business Awards.

Note: Surpass Assessment is now the company name for BTL and BTL Surpass.

Keynote 1: The Power of Us: How we Connect, Act and Innovate Together

David Price OBE opens the Surpass Conference with his keynote presentation. David will discuss how we maintain the momentum of change seen over the last few months, and how we build upon that to achieve lasting change.


David Price
Director, Educational Arts

Keynote 2: The COVID-19 Cost of School Closures

With around 90% of the world’s learners affected by closures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, in this keynote presentation, Harry Patrinos discusses the potential long-term economic impact of the pandemic. Join Harry for this fascinating presentation, to uncover the true cost of school closures, including learning loss, and effect on future earnings.


Harry Patrinos
Practice Manager, World Bank Education

Keynote 3: How Technology is Shaping the Future of Assessment: Imagine the Possibilities

Liberty is passionate about the need to rethink the certification industry. In her keynote presentation, Liberty explores the ways in which technology can shape the future of assessment, including the opportunity to think differently about the questions we ask, and how we evaluate them.

Come away from this engaging keynote presentation feeling inspired to challenge the status quo of assessment and leverage the full potential of technology to more accurately measure skills.


Liberty Munson, Ph.D.
Senior Psychometrician, Microsoft Worldwide Learning

SQA: A View from Scotland Through the COVID Mist

Long-time member of the Surpass Community, and trailblazers for innovation and change, this presentation from Graeme Clarke of SQA brings us a holistic view of Scotland’s approach and response to recent global events. Graeme begins by outlining the impact COVID-19 has had specifically on the Scottish education system, where household internet access is much lower than that of the ‘UK’ average, before giving it a positive spin and talking about lessons learned, and how emergency responses to recent events have provided opportunities that, if acted on now, could shape the future in supporting greater access to national qualification assessments from the home.


Graeme Clark
Head of Service, Digital Assessment, Support Materials and Understanding Standards, SQA

AlphaPlus: Community Story

Dave Mellor has a wealth of experience in delivering high-stakes school examinations. During this session, Dave will be drawing on his own expertise and that of his colleagues at AlphaPlus to offer answers to the following questions:

  • Globally, which school assessment models have been impacted the most during the pandemic?
    • Would it have been possible to have just made the switch to remote forms of high-stakes delivery in England?


Dave Mellor
Deputy Director of Assessment, AlphaPlus

Drexel University: ACE (Adolescent Comprehension Evaluation) – A Solution Provided by LiteracyACE & Surpass

Join Dr. Mary Jean Tecce DeCarlo and Dr. Lori Severino from the School of Education at Drexel University, as they provide an update on their decision to utilise Surpass for the creation and delivery of the ACE (Adolescent Comprehension Evaluation) assessment.

ACE has been developed by Drexel University to provide a much-needed tool for assessing reading comprehension ability of students in grades 6-8. Research carried out by the School of Education revealed that students, particularly those with special educational needs, were being impacted by inadequate reading instruction due to a lack of appropriate assessment tools. By utilising Surpass for ACE, teachers gain access to extensive reporting data to better inform teaching instruction.

This promises to be a fascinating update on an innovative solution to improving the assessment experience for everyone. Join Dr. DeCarlo and Dr. Severino as they give an insight into the challenges they faced, why this problem needed solving, and why Surpass was chosen as the platform to best facilitate the ACE programme.


Dr. Lori Severino
Associate Clinical Professor, Drexel University Literacy Studies

Dr. Mary Jean Tecce DeCarlo
Assistant Professor, Drexel University School of Education

Dainis and Company: In-person vs remote exam development: Supporting validity at every step

Join Amanda Dainis for this insightful session as she discusses validity in exam development. Amanda takes a look at both remote and in-person exam development activities, exploring how Surpass can help whatever your processes may be, whilst always keeping validity at the forefront.


Amanda Dainis
CEO & Lead Psychometrician, Dainis and Company

telc: From Pencil to Surpass (in one simple step)

In this Surpass Conference 2020 presentation, Sean offered the community an insight into the developments made with telc’s popular language testing program over the past year.


Sean McDonald
Head of English Assessment, telc Language Tests

WSET: Chill, Pop, Pour, What a Lockdown!

This presentation will outline WSET’s planned journey with Surpass to introduce computer-based testing on a BYOD basis at its Centres, in a reactionary international multilanguage exam environment that was slightly hijacked by COVID-19. Romana discusses how the lessons learned through remote invigilation will better inform their previous roll out plan.


Romana Moss
Project Manager, WSET

Want to find out more about the topics discussed?

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