David Price, OBE – Keynote
Director – Educational Arts
David Price, OBE, is an expert in organisational learning for a complex future. He writes, talks, trains and advises, around the world, on some of the biggest challenges facing business, education and society: solving the problems of employee, student and civic disengagement; maximising our potential to be creative, innovative and fulfilled citizens, and understanding the global shift towards open organisations, and systems of learning.
In 2009, he was awarded the O.B.E. By Her Majesty the Queen, for services to education.
His first book, OPEN: How We’ll Work, Live and Learn In The Future has been an Amazon best-seller since its publication, securing around 40,000 sold copies. Goodreads readers voted it the most influential book on education in 2016.
His new book is The Power Of Us: How We Connect, Act And Innovate. The three years of research/writing involved interviews with leaders of organisations in the UK, USA, Cambodia, Australia and Malaysia. The book was substantially rewritten after the Covid-19 pandemic, which highlighted the mass ingenuity of the human race, when faced with existential threats. The book will be published on August 28th, on Thread Books.
Harry Patrinos – Keynote
Practice Manager – World Bank Education
Harry Anthony Patrinos is the Practice Manager for the Europe and Central Asia region of the World Bank’s education global practice. He specialises in all areas of education, especially school-based management, demand-side financing and public-private partnerships. He managed education lending operations and analytical work programmes in Argentina, Colombia and Mexico, as well as a regional research project on the socioeconomic status of Latin America’s Indigenous Peoples, published as Indigenous Peoples, Poverty and Human Development in Latin America (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006). He is one of the main authors of the report, Lifelong Learning in the Global Knowledge Economy (World Bank, 2003). Mr. Patrinos has many publications in the academic and policy literature, with more than 40 journal articles. He is co-author of the books: Policy Analysis of Child Labor: A Comparative Study (St. Martin’s, 1999), Decentralization of Education: Demand-Side Financing (World Bank, 1997), and Indigenous People and Poverty in Latin America: An Empirical Analysis with George Psacharopoulos (World Bank/Ashgate, 1994). He has also worked in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America. He previously worked as an economist at the Economic Council of Canada. Mr. Patrinos received a doctorate from the University of Sussex.
Articles and research papers:
• Newsroom – Future earnings gap due to COVID-19 school closures
• World Bank Group, Open Knowledge Repository – Lost Wages : The COVID-19 Cost of School Closures
• Brookings – The COVID-19 cost of school closures
Liberty Munson, Ph.D. – Keynote
Senior Psychometrician – Microsoft Worldwide Learning
Liberty Munson, Ph.D. is the Senior Psychometrician for Microsoft’s Worldwide Learning organisation. She is responsible for ensuring the validity and reliability of the Microsoft technical certification programme. She is considered a thought leader in the certification industry, especially in areas related to how technology can fundamentally change our approach to assessment design, development, delivery, and sustainment, and has proposed many innovative ideas related to the future of certification.
Prior to Microsoft, she worked at Boeing in their Employee Selection Group, assisted with the development of their internal certification exams, and acted as a co-project manager of Boeing’s Employee Survey. She received a BS in Psychology from Iowa State University and MA and PhD in Industrial/Organisational Psychology with minors in Quantitative Psychology and Human Resource Management from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Abby Esten – Host
VP, Business Development – BTL Surpass
Abby recently joined BTL Surpass in April of this year. In this role, she works with potential BTL Surpass clients in North America to strengthen, enhance and streamline their certification programmes via BTL’s products and services. Abby has worked in the assessment industry since 2002, holding roles in test development, account management and business development first at Promisor, then at Pearson VUE, and most recently at PSI. She has also experienced the industry via a client viewpoint whilst holding the role of Credential Manager at the Project Management Institute (PMI). Abby earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature with a Philosophy minor from Gwynedd Mercy University in Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania and has completed post-baccalaureate course work in Business from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She holds the Credentialing Specialist Certificate from the Institute for Credentialing Excellence and is active in various testing community organisations including the Performance Testing Council (PTC), the IT Certification Council (ITCC), Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), Association for Test Publishers (ATP) and both the DC and Chicago-area Certification Network Groups (CNG).
CEO & Lead Psychometrician – Dainis and Company
Amanda has a PhD in Psychometrics. Amanda worked at a pre-employment testing company where she became really interested in certification and licensure, especially credentialing in the workforce, and her career in psychometrics has grown from there. Amanda is now the CEO and Lead Psychometrician for Dainis and Company, based in Virginia, USA. In addition, Amanda is a lead assessor for the American National Standards Institute, specifically for ISO standard 17024.
President – BTL Surpass
Andy has been heavily involved in the design and implementation of assessment technology for over 20 years. Andy has a strong technology background in software engineering and architecture and is highly experienced in leading software development at large scale. Earlier in his career at BTL, Andy received the IT Practitioner of the Year award from the UK’s Chartered Institute of IT for his leadership and implementation of the breakthrough assessment technology that later became known as the Surpass assessment platform which now powers some of the world’s largest and most prestigious assessment programs.
In 2017, Andy relocated with his family from the UK to establish the BTL office in Pennsylvania and service the North American assessment market. Over the past three years Andy has been focused on the business growth of BTL in North America as well as across the BTL group, which in 2020 was recognized with multiple American and international business awards including “Fastest Growing Tech Company of the year” and “Most Innovative Tech Company of the Year” in addition to receiving the UK’s extremely prestigious “Queen’s Award for Enterprise”.
Andy has previously been a board member of the UK’s e-Assessment Association for 3 years and served on committees providing guidance on the judicious use of technology in the assessment process. Andy has also delivered various presentations at industry conferences including ATP, ICE and the Certification Networking Group and is passionate about learning and sharing good practices that may help to provide students with the best possible assessment experiences and outcomes.
Accessibility Analyst – BTL
Andy Varley joined BTL only 8 weeks ago as our Accessibility Analyst.
He is currently working on recruiting a team to better integrate accessibility into the Surpass system as well as auditing and analysing our current accessibility requirements.
His main responsibilities include ensuring that the surpass system is fully compliant to the latest WCAG 2.1 standards and beyond and working closely with the developments teams to make sure this is implemented in the correct way.
Training Manager – BTL
Ashleigh manages the Training Services team. This extends from managing internal training requests for new BTL staff, to training requests for members of the Surpass Community. Ashleigh also manages the Test Conversion Service, which some customers use as a solution for test creation rather than training.
Ashleigh graduated from York St John University with a BA in English Literature and an MA in Creative Writing. She continued to work in education for 2 years before joining BTL, specifically in event management, as well as coaching students in employability skills. Ashleigh is now TAP and COLF certified, along with the other trainers, which means they are qualified in delivering training personally and virtually.
Chairman – BTL
In March 2017, Dr. Bob Gomersall’s contributions to the field of educational assessment were recognised by the community when he was awarded the Lifetime Contribution Award at the first International e-Assessment Awards.
Bob founded BTL in 1985 after recognising the difference a judicious use of technology could make to the way we learn and assess knowledge. Prior to this, he was educated at the universities of Durham and Bristol, and he worked as a theoretical physicist at the Max Planck Institute, Stuttgart. He has taught physics at Manchester Grammar School and Bradford Grammar School, where he was Head of Physics.
He is also Chairman and founder of the Virtual College Group plc and the Advanced Digital Institute. Bob has a particular interest in innovation and formerly chaired the Leeds City Region Business Innovation and Growth Panel.
Senior UX / UI Designer – BTL
Darren Boocker is a Senior UX/UI Designer and has worked at BTL for the last seven years. He has been the lead designer for Item Authoring in Surpass for half a decade. On numerous occasions Darren has run user-focused sessions with the Surpass Community, as well as working with development teams across the organisation. Darren’s main passion is to maintain consistency within the product by adhering to design best practices, such as fundamental UX principles and usability heuristics. Darren strongly believes that for the product to be a success it needs to be user-led, which means interacting more with the Surpass Community.
Deputy Director of Assessment – AlphaPlus
Dave Mellor is the Deputy Director of Assessment at AlphaPlus where he leads on elements of professional, vocational and academic school and college assessments, and contributes to a number of research and evaluation projects.
Prior to joining AlphaPlus, Dave was Director of Assessment and Curriculum at AQA. He has worked in education since leaving university, first as a teacher and then for a charity, and between 2000 and 2020 for AQA, who are the largest provider of general qualifications in the UK. He held a variety of roles within AQA which mostly focused on implementing improvements to systems, processes, structures and products. His most recent role at AQA focused on leading the assessment and curriculum teams which are responsible for the design of the assessments and setting and delivering the curriculum strategy. Prior to that he was heavily involved in the reform of GCSEs and A-levels including engaging with the DfE on the content and Ofqual on the assessment requirements for a large number of subjects. He was responsible for overseeing the technical design of all 123 of AQA’s reformed qualifications and for setting the approach to developing assessment strategies and thus ensuring accreditation by Ofqual. He was the programme manager responsible for introducing on-screen assessments at AQA and has always maintained an interest in the use of technology in assessment, particularly in the impact it can have on increasing validity of the assessments for a technology enabled generation of students.
His main interest is in understanding the different assessment requirements needed for different subjects and types of qualification in order to develop valid assessments that support good teaching and learning and that can be reliably delivered, whether that be on paper or using technology or another medium.
He spends his spare time climbing, walking and caving and as an outdoor pursuits leader for a charity.
Account Manager – BTL
Ellen is responsible for managing the relationships of several BTL customers, both in the UK and globally. As an Account Manager, Ellen works in partnership with customers to successfully implement Surpass, improve exam processes, and enhance the overall exam experience. As a Surpass expert, Ellen enjoys working closely with customers to ensure that they are getting the most out of the product.
Ellen has worked at BTL for a number of years and has held roles in BTL’s Documentation and Training Team, as well as in the Business Development team. Before joining BTL, Ellen worked in the Publishing industry for several years, managing the editorial process for a portfolio of academic journals.
VP, Service Operations – BTL Surpass
Gary joined BTL in 2007 as a Service Desk Analyst and has since progressed to a number of roles including Service Desk Supervisor, Service Delivery Manager and Release & Deployments Manager.
In 2018 he relocated to Pennsylvania, USA to take up the position of VP Service Operations and to build and lead the Operations team serving the North American market. Gary enjoys working closely with our growing number of North America-based customers and partners to deliver the highest level of service with the assistance of BTL’s support teams on both sides of the Atlantic.
Gary’s professional qualifications include a BCS Specialist Certificate in Service Level Management, a BCS Specialist Certificate in Service Desk and Incident Management, and an ITIL Certificate in Release, Control & Validation. He also holds a PRINCE2 Practitioner Certificate in Project Management.
Head of Service, Digital Assessment, Support Materials and Understanding Standards – SQA
Graeme worked for many years in Further Education teaching mathematics and then in the development and implementation of digital assessment and learning systems. He has used BTL’s e-Assessment products since 2005 and is passionate about the continued use of digital technology to make a positive impact on the achievement and success of learners.
Digital Services Manager – SQA
Heather has been working in education for over a decade as a teacher, SENCo, researcher and manager. Her role as a Digital Services Manager at SQA means that she works on a variety of elements of digital assessment development including: assessment design, accessibility, data analysis and stakeholder engagement. An area of particular interest is looking at how meta-skills can be assessed effectively.
Technical Author and Trainer – BTL
Holly is an experienced Technical Author and Trainer at BTL. For the last year, Holly has been working on the migration of content to the new Surpass Help site. This has included creating new and more user-centred documentation in line with BTL’s updated house style. Holly also managed the content migration for the new SecureMarker documentation.
Holly’s additional responsibilities include training customers on how to use the products, working with other departments to help refine features, and writing product documentation.
Prior to joining BTL, Holly gained a BA in English Literature from Leeds Beckett University before moving to New York City to complete an internship in journalism.
Head of Projects & Account Management – BTL
Ian is Head of Projects and Account Management at BTL, and has had extensive experience of both e-Learning and e-Assessment projects. Ian has led the Surpass Platform implementation projects for the Welsh Government, British Council, Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA), Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC), SkillsFirst and EAL EMTA. Ian has also spent several years as a Service Delivery Manager at BTL, responsible for ensuring a continuous service to our clients through the detailed SLAs that we have put in place. Previously, Ian spent 18 years working in the Transport and Logistics industry. Prior to joining BTL he was responsible for the development and implementation of warehouse management systems for companies such as P&O, Kellogg’s, Proctor and Gamble and Kimberley Clark. Ian is certified in ITIL and a qualified PRINCE2 practitioner.
Business Development Director – BTL
In addition to managing the UK and US Business Development Teams, Jim helps to ensure that the strategic direction of BTL’s products and services is aligned with both the Surpass Community’s needs and those of the broader assessment industry. He is a regular speaker at assessment events, with a focus on the international audience.
Jim’s passion for creating better assessments started alongside his career in the education sector, when in 2005 he worked on e-Learning design for some of the world’s most recognisable brands, such as HSBC, UNESCO and Boots. Jim joined BTL in 2010 and prior to joining the business development team he worked as a Product Owner, where he was responsible for overseeing the initial design and development of Surpass R12.
Chief Executive Officer – BTL
Keith has now completed 20 years as CEO. During this time BTL has grown to be one of the largest assessment technology providers in the UK serving the needs of most of the largest awarding bodies. From this stong UK position Keith has led the international expansion with an office in the US and millions of tests across the world now delivered through Surpass while BTL has grown from a workforce of 20 to 250.
Keith qualified as an accountant which lead to a variety of roles in accounting and the implementation of computer systems, firstly in accounting contexts and then more widely, though his favourite early role was two years working in Bermuda’s offshore insurance industry. Keith now spends his time on strategic direction and managing a highly talented team with as light a touch as possible. He is still striving to improve the experience and fairness of assessments to benefit an increasing number of test takers across the world.
Itembank Manager – SQA
Linn Macdougall has worked on a range of digital approaches in education including e-portfolios, e-assessment, and VR. She previously managed the implementation and maintenance of Surpass at SQA. She is currently responsible for leading the digital aspect of the Next Generation qualification development.
Lori Severino, Ed.D.
Assistant Professor – Drexel University School of Education
Co-owner – LiteracyACE
Lori Severino, Ed.D. is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education and co-owner of LiteracyACE, an educational technology company. Her research interests include dyslexia, creativity, reading comprehension and teacher training. Currently, she is working with faculty from the school of education and biomedical engineering to create a reading comprehension we-based assessment for adolescents (ACE) that uses fNIR technology to ensure the questions to the reading passages are text-based, an important factor to reduce test bias. She is co-author of a new book entitled Using Creativity to Address Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Dyscalculia: Assessments and Techniques (2021). Dr. Severino is the 2019 recipient of the Floyd G. Hudson Service Award from the International Council of Learning Disabilities for her work with the Read by 4th campaign and the School District of Philadelphia. She recently led a project to develop 6 weeks of summer content for Prekindergarten through 2nd grade delivered entirely online and free worldwide: www.readingpromise.org/summerlearning
Mary Jean Tecce DeCarlo, Ed.D.
Associate Clinical Professor – Literacy Studies at Drexel University
Mary Jean Tecce DeCarlo, Ed.D. is an Associate Clinical Professor of Literacy Studies at Drexel University and co-founder of LiteracyAce, an education technology company. During her nearly 30 years in education, Dr. DeCarlo has been a classroom teacher, a curriculum leader, and a college professor. At Drexel she has focused her research on reading comprehension and meaning making, the development of information and digital literacy skills for learners K- 12, and innovative teacher education pedagogies. Dr. DeCarlo is working with colleagues in education and biomedical engineering to create ACE (Adolescent Comprehension Evaluation), a digital reading comprehension tool. ACE uses brain-imaging techniques to validate that its test questions are text-based and has created a novel approach to measuring student progress. Her recent publications include a new book from Springer Science, Learning in Information Rich Environments: I-LEARN and the Construction of Knowledge from Information and “Critical Literacy as a Lens for Students’ Evaluation of Sources in an AP World History Class” in the journal The Social Studies.
Senior UX / UI Designer – BTL
Neil joined BTL’s design team as a User Interface and Interaction Designer in 2016. Neil works closely with the solutions, development and accessibility teams across BTL to help shape design and user experience for Surpass. Prior to joining BTL, Neil worked as a designer within the e-commerce and newspaper industry for 15 years.
Head of Design & UX – BTL
Richard has been with BTL since 2005 when he joined as a multimedia designer. His career then progressed to being responsible for all marketing output for BTL. During this time, he showcased exceptional understanding and talent for user experience design. Richard realised, that with a little thought, users’ needs could be addressed alongside the technical requirements of the system. Now, Richard leads a large team of focus-led designers dedicated to ensuring that Surpass is both aesthetically designed and user friendly. His passion for user experience has led to an increased awareness throughout the organisation, bridging an important gap between user experience and technical requirements.
Project Manager – WSET
Romana has worked in education for over 20 years and has extensive experience across examinations in a variety of institutional settings across several roles. Romana has successfully managed several transformational projects across organisations and genuinely loves streamlining processes which allows her to create colourful process maps in VISIO.
Copywriter & Content Specialist – BTL
Sam joined BTL in 2014 as an Assistant Technical Author, before progressing to the role of Documentation and Training Manager where she led a team of technical authors and trainers to keep the Surpass help documentation up to date, and deliver Surpass training to the community.
In 2018, Sam moved into the Marketing Team as a copywriter, where she works on a range of content for the community, including articles, Q&As, webinars, podcasts and a regular newsletter. She is also an administrator for the BTL Innovations Hub, managing the challenges and ideas available to both internal BTL staff and the Surpass Community.
Sam has a first-class honours degree English Literature and Media Studies from Teesside University, and an MA in Publishing from Oxford Brooks University. Before joining BTL, Sam worked in academic publishing, holding editorial roles at Palgrave Macmillan, Wiley Blackwell, and Emerald.
Chief Strategy Officer – BTL
Simon has worked in the educational and assessment technology industry for over 14 years and has a wealth of experience in designing and delivering a diverse range of interactive learning platforms, learning management systems and online assessment services for customers across the UK and overseas. Simon’s skills and experience encompass product management, product development, commercial management and solutions architecture.
Simon’s role as Chief Strategy Officer at BTL involves working alongside clients and industry partners to understand business needs and operational challenges, and to identify future trends in assessment.
Prior to working in educational and assessment technology, Simon was involved in healthcare communications technology for almost 10 years, delivering services to hospitals globally.
Having graduated from The University of Reading with a degree in Geography, Simon’s more recent professional qualifications include an ITIL Foundation Certificate in IT Service Management and he is also a Certified Scrum Product Owner.
Product Manager – BTL
As the Product Manager, Sophie is responsible for overseeing the workload of the Product Owner team, taking a holistic view of product development, and working closely with the Chief Product Officer (CPO) to determine the strategic direction of BTL’s product offering.
Having worked at BTL since 2004, Sophie started as a multimedia designer, producing content created via BTL’s in-house software for clients such as the TDA, DfES and SQA. Sophie then became certified as a professional trainer and subsequently became BTL’s Training Manager for the Surpass Platform for several years. This background in product training provided Sophie with a great understanding of the different users of the system, which she was able to apply to her Product Owner role from 2013 to 2019 before moving into her current role as Product Manager.
Chief Operations Officer | Managing Director (UK) – BTL
After more than 10 years of overseeing BTL’s Operations, Sonya’s professional yet friendly attitude towards staff, combined with her extensive knowledge of all aspects of BTL made her the perfect fit for stepping up to the Managing Director role for the UK office in 2017.
She continues her role as the Chief Operations Officer where she works with her teams who are involved in the whole lifecycle of a customer’s journey: from the initiation of a project, through to the delivery and support of the continuous service. She is also accountable for BTL’s Test Centre Network.
Sonya recognises the importance of process across the entire organisation to enable the continued successful operation of consistent and robust assessment delivery. She instigated and championed the internal project established to achieve ISO:9001 and ISO:27001 accreditation. As Managing Director she continues to support various projects across the business to lead the UK teams and drive continued improvement, growth and promotion of the company values.
Prior to joining BTL in 2003, Sonya worked for Accenture, the international project management consultancy company. She is certified in ITIL and achieved the PRINCE2 practitioner qualification.
Tim Burnett – Host
Head of Marketing – BTL
Tim joined BTL as a project manager in 2006, since then Tim has taken on the role of Head of Marketing.
Education is at the core of Tim’s career having graduated as a qualified teacher of Design & Technology. Tim is keen on building positive communities which can work together to improve the learning and assessment process, making it fair, inclusive, and useful.
As well as working with BTL, Tim is an active board member for the e-Assessment Association and contributes to the activities of industry groups such as ATP, CNG and FAB.
Senior Technical Author and Trainer – BTL
Since joining BTL, Tom has been passionate about helping customers understand how to use Surpass to the best of their abilities. He is an accomplished writer and experienced trainer who has helped many organisations in creating the best digital testing content possible.
For the last 2 years, Tom has been working on developing the new Surpass Help Site, which will be launched this year. This has included running usability sessions with staff to understand their needs and wants as well as their pain points, prototyping designs and frameworks, and formalising a new house style for the Product Communications and Training team that is based on well-established technical writing and instructional design principles.
Prior to joining BTL, Tom studied for a PhD at the University of Sheffield on an AHRC scholarship. This involved extensive independent research, the writing of a complex 100,000 word thesis, teaching 3 groups of undergraduates, and mentoring younger postgraduates. The skills he learnt over his 4 years of doctoral study have been invaluable to his ability to communicate technical information efficiently and effectively both in person and on the page.
UX / UI Designer – BTL
Wajeeha is a UX/UI designer at BTL, where she collaborates with clients and teams across the organisation. In previous roles, she has worked in ecommerce and developed a passion for data analytics.
During her time at BTL, she has applied quantitative data to improve interaction designs across the product. Understanding and interpreting user feedback to apply to decision making, Wajeeha is exploring new ideas to help the end user achieve the best experience through user research and empathising with user needs.