2019 Programme

Plan your Surpass Conference with the full programme below.
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The Surpass Conference is the best event on the circuit for learning about innovation in assessment and meeting those that are driving it. The two-day event is your opportunity to connect with other members of the Surpass Community and discover more about how they are using the Surpass Platform to break new ground.

In addition, we will be looking at the wider assessment sector and will welcome contributions from peers from the industry. As with previous years, day one will focus on sharing experiences and updates from the past year, and day two will be an opportunity to look ahead to the future. There will be multiple streams on offer, with a combination of Engage, Explore, and Play sessions which are sure to prove interesting for everyone.

Thursday 3rd October

Welcome by Keith Myers, CEO at BTL.

With Andy McAnulla, CTO and Sonya Whitworth, COO at BTL.

Olly Newton, Director of Policy and Research - Edge Foundation

We are delighted to welcome Olly Newton to the 2019 Surpass Conference. In Olly’s role as Director of Policy and Research at The Edge Foundation, his job is to understand the latest education research and practices in the UK and worldwide, which he then shares with policy makers, practitioners and the media.

In his keynote speech, Olly will talk to us about the changing labour market, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and what that means for assessment. He’ll also discuss how as a community, we can not just respond to the challenges these changes present, but can be at the forefront of leading that change.

Drinks available.

The Surpass Community is growing all the time. In addition to members of the community that use Surpass, there are essential organisations that support the community either with development, technology or supporting services. Keith will invite these supporting community members to the stage to say ‘hello’, and tell you a little more about the work they do. We encourage you to then seek them out during the conference to further your discussions.

Brian Silveri, Manager: Product and System Management - National Board of Medical Examiners
Gavin Busuttil-Reynaud, Director - AlphaPlus
Georgie Page, Product Communications & Training Manager - BTL
Nick Freeman, Head of Transformation Projects - The London Institute of Banking & Finance
Tom Wardak, Lead Technical Author and Trainer - BTL
Toni Brooks, Online Assessment & e-Marking Manager - NCFE

The Surpass Community is probably one of the most diverse communities of assessment providers. Each member has their own unique and fascinating story to tell. This year we will be welcomed to this great city by Toni Brooks from Newcastle-based NCFE with an update on their recent activities. Then we’ll be hearing about NBME’s investment in Item Tags in content authoring, how they are using it, and the benefits it brings to item management, such as searching and reporting. We’ll also be hearing an update from Gavin about the inspirational work with the personalised testing being undertaken in Wales. We will welcome Laura to the stage for the first time to tell us about the experiences of Cardiff University School of Biosciences in selecting Surpass and their plans for the future. Finally, Georgie and Tom from BTL’s Product Communications and Training team will be providing delegates with an update on the new Help Site for Surpass and opportunities for community members to get involved in user testing.

Join other members of the Surpass Community for lunch and networking.

Alice Niezborala, Partnerships - ProctorExam
Emma Hall, Senior Business Development Manager - BTL
Ibidun Layi-Ojo, Assessment Technology Portfolio Director - Prometric
Laura Roach, Education Technology Manager - School of Biosciences at Cardiff University
Martha Gibson, e-Assessment Manager and Content Developer - Edinburgh Business School

You’ll love this if you are looking at how you can reach new audiences on a global scale.

In this session, we invite representatives from local and international organisations to discuss their experiences in developing and delivering an assessment programme on a global scale. Our speakers will cover topics such as developing content for global audiences, overcoming cultural differences, and ensuring assessment security is maintained.

Andy Walker, Solutions Architect - BTL
Ashleigh Whittle, Technical Author and Trainer - BTL
Eloise Mountford, Technical Product Specialist - BTL
Granville Edwards, LCMS & e-volve Product Owner - City & Guilds
Jen Warhurst, Account Manager - BTL

You’ll love this if you want to assess your candidates on the application of their skills, not just their ability to recall knowledge.

An exam is a unique experience that requires an array of skills to recall knowledge that won’t always be needed in real life. This session will focus on the use of various scenario-based questions that allow candidates to demonstrate how they would apply their skills and knowledge to situations in the real-world. These methods of testing enable candidates to showcase what they have learnt from a course, rather than traditional knowledge recall tests.

We will explore some of the innovative Surpass features that could be used to create a more true-to-life test, the authoring process of these tests, and a host of benefits of this approach to testing.

Georgie Page, Product Communications & Training Manager - BTL
Holly Nicol, Technical Author and Trainer - BTL

You’ll love this if you're interested in learning how to better manage your item creation in Surpass.
In this session, we will help you evaluate how you can improve your item creation process in Surpass using ‘Tasks’. You will discover how you can use Authoring tasks to manage a team of subject matter experts to create their items. We will then look at how to check the quality of those items using Review tasks. We will demonstrate all the new functionality and give you plenty of chance to practise in the system.

Drinks available.

Andy McAnulla, CTO - BTL
Dave Dixon, Head of Solutions - BTL
Georgie Page, Product Communications & Training Manager - BTL
Jen Warhurst, Account Manager - BTL
Richard London, Head of Design - BTL

You’ll love this if you want to find out what BTL are doing to prepare for Flash end of life.

In this session, we will provide a timeline of Flash end of life and explain our strategy for supporting your Flash content going forward. We will also look to the future and explore the benefits of authoring and delivering tests in HTML, including a step-by-step guide to how you can practically evaluate your tests to decide when you can move over to HTML.

Alex Fleming, Application Solutions Team Lead - BTL
Emma Gilmartin, Account Manager - BTL
Ira Lukhezo, Solutions Architect - BTL
Sam Wray, Test Delivery Services Manager - BTL
Shubham Priya, Solutions Architect - BTL
Vanessa Appoh, Head of Digital Development - telc gGmbH

You’ll love this if you’re looking for new ways to connect Surpass with your business operations.

In this session we’ll be discussing and demonstrating some of the more interesting integrations that the Surpass Community have been involved with this year. These will range from self-registration and certification portals for language testing, to new internal integration tools that will improve the operational processes for online invigilation, and streamline on-demand testing with Surpass.

We will then provide delegates with the opportunity to explore the future by showcasing potential integrations with the latest Azure services.

Jack Hobson, Lead Technical Author and Trainer - BTL
Ashleigh Whittle, Technical Author and Trainer - BTL

You’ll love this if you want to be more innovative with your item creation in Surpass.

In this session, we will use new features from the most recent releases of Surpass to create more engaging content for your items. We will use the audio capture question type to demonstrate its new functionality, as well as exploring item templates, editing HTML source code, and how media is displayed to candidates.



A short break before the alternative keynote session and day one closing remarks.

Ben Whitaker, Director - EduFuturists
Dan Fitzpatrick, Director - EduFuturists
Steven Hope, Director - EduFuturists

A technology revolution is underway in the classroom, and at the Surpass Conference this year we’ll be welcoming the EduFuturists to tell us more about it. Ben, Dan and Steve are passionate about technology and learning, and have been reporting on this via their podcast and blog channels for a while now. Their podcast guests are inspirational and include many celebrities from the world of learning. Please give them a warm welcome to our community! If you’d like to listen to their podcasts then visit www.edufuturists.com to subscribe to their channel.

Closing remarks from Keith Myers and information on the evening event.

Forget everything you thought you knew about bowling alleys because Lane 7 is different. Really different. Join us for exclusive use of this cool venue and partake in bowling, ping pong, American pool, beer pong, karaoke, and indoor golf. Food and drink will be provided to add to what will be a fun and relaxed evening.

Key times:

7:00pm - Meet for welcome drinks
7:30pm - Activities and rolling buffet served
9:30 - Buffet close
11pm - Close

Friday 4th October

Welcome by Bob Gomersall, Chair - BTL Group Ltd.

Ali Al Jassim, CEO - Ajman Driving Academy
Andy McAnulla, CTO - BTL
Dave Mellor, Director of Assessment and Curriculum - AQA
Janet King, Senior Subject Specialist - NCFE CACHE
Paul Eeles, Chief Executive - Skills and Education Group
Rachel Teale, Business Support Manager - AQA

Innovation is at the heart of what we do at BTL, and keeps us at the cutting-edge of assessment technology. In this session, we invite members of the Surpass Community to the stage to share their own innovations in technology and assessment design and delivery by looking at what they’ve achieved over the last year, challenges they have overcome, and what the future holds.

Topics include the challenges facing General Qualifications, the future of Online Invigilation, and new opportunities within the vocational space. Finally, we’ll introduce our new platform for sharing and supporting enhancements to Surpass.

A chance to summarise and reflect on the Innovation Insights panel.

Drinks available.

Richard London, Head of Design - BTL

With the BTL Design Team:
Darren Boocker, Senior UX/UI Designer - BTL
Ian Higgins, UX/UI Designer - BTL
Julian Dyer, Accessibility Designer - BTL
Kat Owens, UX/UI Designer - BTL
Leon Hampson, Accessibility Team Lead - BTL
Neil Dickinson, Senior UX/UI Designer - BTL

You’ll love this if you’re full of ideas about the future of assessment software, and want to see your ideas brought to life.

Join BTL's in-house Design Team and bring your ideas to this interactive workshop. We will be exploring opportunities to improve your experience when using Surpass and help shape its future direction. With six themes to choose from, you can immerse yourself in the following:

  • Discover multiple different approaches to marking exams using rapid card sorting to explore the day-in-the-life of a marker.
  • Tasks is the most exciting part of the product; working together we will explore the market opportunities with the goal of discovering a product strategy.
  • Everyone has a homepage but we’ve barely scratched the surface of its potential. We’ll provide the pens and paper and you bring the ideas. Let’s design together!
  • The candidate experience is the most important piece of the puzzle; let’s vote on what we feel is the most important to our most important user.
  • A fun and interactive exploration into the ways we’re making Surpass more accessible - play Alt Tag Pictionary, Quick on the Draw, and see if you can win a prize in the Lucky Dip!
  • You’ve heard about the plan for Flash to HTML, come and give feedback on an early prototype of the Surpass Viewer.

Ben Smith, Senior Statistician - AlphaPlus
Dave Dixon, Head of Solutions - BTL
Georgie Page, Product Communications & Training Manager - BTL
Lizzie Anstiss, Business Development Manager - BTL
Tom Gomersall, Senior Technical Architect - BTL
Will Chadwick, Solutions Architect - BTL

You’ll love this if you’re interested in finding out how you can achieve different testing methods with Surpass.

There’s a lot of interest in exploring different testing methods from across the Surpass Community, including LOFT and adaptive testing. In this session, we will explain the different testing methods Surpass supports and show you how these work in the system, as well as providing in-depth insights into how customers are already using these as part of their testing processes. We will also take a look at what the future holds for introducing new, innovative testing to Surpass.

Alice Niezborala, Partnerships - ProctorExam
Helen Moore, Account Manager - BTL
Sam Wray, Test Delivery Services Manager - BTL

You’ll love this if you are interested in learning more about our Online Invigilation service and would like to come along and have a play!

There is a lot of curiosity surrounding exactly how Online Invigilation appears from a candidate’s perspective. This session gives you the opportunity to see for yourself! We will initially demonstrate the Online Invigilation platform and provide the opportunity for you to experience first-hand the full end-to-end process of carrying out pre-exam checks through to exam completion.

Join other members of the Surpass Community for lunch and networking.

You'll love this If you want to engage in interesting discussions on the hot topics in assessment.

Special Interest Groups are a great way to explore a specific topic and share your views with likeminded community members. We’ll have a variety of topics to discuss in small groups during this session, facilitated by members of the BTL team.

Georgie Page, Product Communications & Training Manager - BTL
Tom Wardak, Lead Technical Author and Trainer - BTL

You’ll love this if you want to see how the new documentation platform works and have your say on the future of documentation at BTL.

In this session, we will formally introduce delegates to the new Surpass Help Site that will be launched in 2020. We have been working really hard over the past year to revolutionise our documentation and make it as easy to use and understand as possible. Attendees have the opportunity to get hands-on with the current prototype and work through some scenarios to test the usability of the new site. As the new documentation platform is still in the early stages of development, we welcome all comments and suggestions.

Return for closing remarks.

Closing remarks and thank yous from Bob Gomersall, Chairman of BTL.

An opportunity to bid farewell to new and old colleagues before grabbing a drink and snack for the journey home.

We look forward to seeing you next year!