Behind the scenes of the Testwise upgrade

Published 04/05/2021

Thousands of schools around the world rely on our Testwise platform to run their assessments every year. If your school is one of them, you’ll want to know why and how we’re changing it, and how it will affect you. This article gives you an insight into the work that went on behind the scenes to try to ensure that it meets the needs of all the schools using it.

All of us are apprehensive when technology we’re familiar with is updated. Will we need to learn how to use it all over again? Will we be able to find everything?

We were very mindful of this as we began work. Technology has moved on since Testwise was originally developed, putting so much more flexibility and functionality within reach. But we’ve tried to make sure that the platform itself looks familiar. Most of the changes are built in behind the scenes, the intention being that you get to see the benefits without having to find your way around a very different platform.

What did teachers want to see?

We began, naturally, by asking teachers who used Testwise what they would like to see. Three themes emerged:

  1. A simplified process: fewer clicks to make things happen
  2. Better tools and more flexibility to create reports to highlight individuals or groups for support
  3. The ability to make the data more accessible to teachers.

We also asked our colleagues in our Customer Services team for the questions they were most frequently asked by Testwise users. The number one question turned out to be, ‘What’s SAS?’, which taught us that not everyone accessing the reports understands the vocabulary. So now when you see ‘SAS’, you’ll see an explanation of the Standard Age Score, too.

Schools also phoned to ask how they could access data that was there but which they couldn’t find. We’re determined to make these calls a thing of the past and make it easier for you from the start.

Challenge accepted, we set to work to make it happen

  1. We focused on making Testwise much easier to use, so you can concentrate on what you want to achieve without expending unnecessary effort on the process. User experience (UX) testing and research with teachers has helped us to refine our ideas and pinpoint how to make navigation intuitive and you’ll now only see options that are relevant to your school and your data.
  2. We moved key reporting online and made it interactive, which means that you can now filter and sort in a myriad of different ways to generate reports tailored around your school, your cohort of pupils, and specific needs. We’ve also made it much easier to administer data and access reports for school groups and MATs, choosing all schools in the group, some or just one.
  3. The interactivity of the online reports will really facilitate group discussions and as we make more of the reports interactive, we will give you the ability to share with as many teachers as you wish by sending them a link. We think you’ll love it but you’ll still be able to generate PDFs and export to Excel if you wish to.

Have we succeeded?

Time will tell, but comments from early trials of new Testwise have been very positive:

“These changes just reduced hours of work into potentially just a few clicks.”

“These changes will have a direct, positive impact not only on me as data lead but also on our teachers and most importantly, our students.”

“Report generating has just become a more intuitive experience, allowing me to create more bespoke reports to suit our needs, particularly when refining for vulnerable groups or individual students.” 

“The interactivity of the reports for CAT4 and PASS mean that students with low scores and extreme learning biases can be quickly identified with classroom interventions put in place.”

“I really appreciate the simplicity that has come with the changes. I can now navigate through sittings, or create different types of reports, with fewer distractions and clicks, which makes the process feel much more efficient.” 

Find out more

We’re now ready to share the new Testwise more widely and we’d love you to explore. There’s much more detail available on our website, where we’ll be adding short videos and webinars over the coming months.

The upgraded Testwise will be available from August 2021. You can find out more here.