2022 Programme

Day 1 – Thursday 6 October

9am onwards

Everyone welcome






Opening welcome session

Bob Gomersall – Chairman, BTL 



Keynote: Jamie Andrew OBE

Mountains of adversity: Overcoming challenges in a disrupted landscape

Mountaineer Jamie is the first quadruple amputee in the world to climb Kilimanjaro and complete a marathon. After losing his limbs following five days in a mountain-summit storm in 1999, he learned to walk again and overcame adversity to take up skiing, triathlons and more mountains.

In his session he will talk about how you can learn valuable lessons to overcome challenges and successfully manage change.

Key points to help you achieve your goals will include:

  • How to find the positive in every situation when facing challenges
  • The importance of not facing problems alone – allowing others to help you
  • How to dream big but start with small goals and work up

Key messages from the session:

  • Throw yourself into achieving your goals – believe that you can achieve them!
  • It is the journey that counts
  • It doesn’t matter if you fail some of your goals because you can learn from that experience and try again

Plenary session


Celebrating 15 years of the Surpass Community

Andy McAnulla – President, BTL Surpass 

Sonya Whitworth – Managing Director, BTL

Sonya Whitworth and Andy McAnulla will reflect on some of the challenges we have overcome in the last 15 years, and milestones we have reached in that time together with the Surpass Community.

Plenary session


Surpass Community-led innovations

Phil Cowen – Business Change Manager, OCR 

Martin Mewis – e-Submission Delivery Manager, WJEC 

Janet Legge – Director, ACT

Learn about a range of recent features from the Surpass Community members who led them, and the benefits that came from collaborating together throughout the design process.


Networking and coffee

General stream


Assessment for Learning & Candidate Feedback

Ben Rockcliffe – Deputy Director for Assessment, Alphaplus

Graeme Clark – Head of Digital Assessment Services, SQA

Ian Brumfitt – Chief Operating Officer, BTL

In this session, discover how Surpass Community members AlphaPlus, and SQA use Surpass to deliver assessments to candidates that focus on continuous learning and feedback.

Specialist stream


New features in Surpass, including Customisable Question Types (CQTs)

Nicola Bennett – Application Support Specialist, City & Guilds

Mudassar Iqbal –  Product Owner, BTL

Hannah Rowe – Assessment Manager, AlphaPlus

A regular programme of development updates is at the heart of open-platform Surpass. Hear why BTL created certain features for some customers, the problems this solved and how the new functionality is used.

Don’t miss this opportunity to see BTL’s suite of Customisable Question Types (CQTs). Hear from Nicola Bennett, Application Support Specialist at City & Guilds, as she talks about how they have helped her organisation.

There will also be an opportunity to get some ‘hands on’ experience of the CQTs currently available, so you can leave full of ideas for how you might make use of this unique framework for your future exam series!


Surpass Innovation Award

The Innovation Award highlights the fantastic examples of innovation at the heart of the Surpass Community.

This year’s nominations are:

  • Alphaplus
  • Chartered Professional Accountants Canada (CPA Canada)
  • Michigan Language Assessment
  • TWI

Plenary session


Closing plenary panel: The direction of the assessment industry

Jim Crawford – Chief Commercial Officer and Company Director, BTL

Patrick Craven – Director of Policy, Strategic Partnerships and Stakeholder Engagement, City & Guilds

Lynne Frederickson – Project Manager, MLA

Tanya Hollister – Associate Director, Examinations at Chartered Professional Accountants Canada (CPA Canada)

Colin Hughes – CEO, AQA


Celebrating the collaboration that is the heart of the Surpass Community, hear from respected industry leaders across a range of sectors (GQs, Vocational, Professional and Language Testing) on the current challenges they face.

Discover how their respective sectors are expected to evolve, primarily from an onscreen testing perspective, over the next five years and put your questions to the panel.


Closing remarks

Keith Myers – Chief Executive Officer, BTL


Networking and dinner

Meet representatives from Surpass teams and network with other delegates and industry experts from around the world, at our evening event.

Enjoy a relaxed evening including karaoke, cocktail making and buffet dinner, at Revolucion de Cuba (Albert Dock, 22 Edward Pavilion, Liverpool).

Before the evening event, you could also enjoy a fascinating hour-long walking tour of Liverpool. Explore the city’s story, and discover its grand architecture and stunning historic Waterfront. The tour begins at 6.30pm from the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza, and ends at your evening venue within Royal Albert Dock. You can pre-book the tour so you don’t miss out, or ask at the Conference registration desk when you arrive.

Day 2 – Friday 7 October


Opening welcome session

Plenary session


Services for the Surpass Community

Paul Edelblut – Vice President of Cognitive Computing, Vantage Labs

Ashleigh Whittle – Head of Supporting Services, BTL

Miriam Broome – Online Invigilation Manager, BTL

Lana Pitcher – Senior Examinations Officer, The Bar Standards Board


This session is an opportunity to hear from Surpass Community members. Discover how they use Surpass supporting services to assist in the creation and delivery of their assessments.

Including information on online proctoring, Test Centre Network, test development and test conversion/publishing, learn how BTL services can assist you with item authoring, scheduling, and delivery.

Also in this session, Paul Edelblut from Vantage AI, will be demonstrating live just how easy and effective it can be to start automatically marking long-form item responses with their groundbreaking integrated technology.


Networking and coffee

Plenary session


Stories from the Surpass Community

Ben Newby – Chief Digital Officer, WJEC

Lynne Frederickson – Project Manager, MLA

Robbie Furter – PAEA

A favourite of the Surpass Community year after year – hear from a trio of Surpass Community organisations as they share their successes and challenges from the past twelve months. This session covers topics ranging from the implementation of new processes and the migration of items, to how to break the bonds between paper and on-screen assessments.

General stream

12 noon

Delivering accessible tests in Surpass

Gavin Evans – Co-Founder and Director of Operations, Digital Accessibility Centre Ltd (DAC)

Emma Hall – Head of Business Development, BTL

Adam Norris – Accessibility Developer, BTL

Mike Taylor – Senior Accessibility Analyst, DAC

In this session, hear from Digital Accessibility Centre (DAC) on the importance of accessibility, including legislation you need to be aware of, how to organise an audit and what user groups to take into consideration. You’ll also hear from Surpass’s dedicated accessibility development team as they provide an update on our recent accessibility improvements, talk about good practice guidance and share information about future plans in this area.

Hands-on stream

12 noon

Collaborate as a team while working remotely in Surpass

Ashleigh Whittle – Head of Supporting Services, BTL

Amanda Dainis – CEO and Lead Psychometrician, Dainis & Company, Inc.

Learn how Surpass can manage the creation of your content remotely, through the use of Tasks functionality.

Specialist stream

12 noon

Innovations for the next technological leaps in testing

David Sime – Riiot Digital

Join special guests from Riiot Digital in a session that is sure to pique the interest of even the most sceptical technophobe, and is absolutely unmissable for anybody excited to get hands on with technology for testing and recording results.

Featuring an introduction to tactile testing technology used to replicate high-risk environments, and affordable alternatives for schools and other groups, see how Riiot is changing the way people think about measuring physical skills like welding and surgery.

Then, when you’ve seen the demonstration, try it for yourself in one of Riiot’s specially created demonstration units.



General stream


NBME five years on – The evolution of Surpass Item Authoring and Banking

Jamie Saldutti – VP of Application Development, NBME

NBME is a non-profit assessment organisation centred on the assessment of US medical doctors. In this session, NBME’s VP of IT Application Development, Jamie Saldutti will share NBME’s journey to transition their subject matter experts and test development staff to Surpass for web-based item authoring, review, and banking.

NBME will explain why they selected Surpass, what they’ve learned through the implementation, and what remains to complete their transition to Surpass.

Hands-on stream


Delivering accessible exams: the test-taker perspective

Gavin Evans – Digital Accessibility Centre Ltd (DAC)

Emma Hall – Head of Business Development, BTL

Adam Norris – Accessibility Developer, BTL

Mike Taylor – Senior Accessibility Analyst, DAC

Martha Wright-Beattie – Junior Account Manager, BTL

This hands-on session is designed to raise awareness of the barriers that test takers can face. Explore the many ways that assistive technology and good design can help to overcome them.

Specialist stream


Beyond VR: try XR-based testing for yourself

Riiot Digital team 

Riiot Digital present your opportunity to try the future of simulation-based testing for yourself in their bespoke welding simulator.

XR stands for ‘extended reality’, and a typical XR experience immerses you in the virtual environment (VR) and augments your surroundings.

Specially designed to mimic and record performance in hazardous environments without exposing the candidate to danger, Riiot’s tactile XR technology can be put to use in any number of situations including welding, surgery and more. This is the perfect way to round off your Surpass Conference and start looking ahead to the future!

See more of what this amazing tech can do in the video below.

General stream


New development feedback sessions: Test Creation designs

Gareth HopkinsAssessment Solutions Specialist, BTL

Scott Flockton – Senior Solutions Architect , BTL

Ian Higgins – UX Design Team Lead, BTL

These feedback sessions are your chance to see mockups for the revamped Test Creation screens in Surpass. Have your say, and give your feedback on what you like or think could be improved upon.

Hands-on stream


Supporting content developers in Surpass

Ashleigh Whittle – Head of Supporting Services, BTL

Meranda Lokey  – COO, Dainis and Company, Inc.

In this session, learn more about using Tasks in Surpass to track item or exam development and how this can help you to streamline processes.


Closing remarks


Coffee to go