As we head into the new year, like many organisations we’re treating January as a time to reflect on what we have achieved alongside our partners in the past twelve months.
2015 started out like any other, with the team working hard on innovations within Surpass, but behind the scenes a number of projects were coming to fruition to make our 30th anniversary year one to truly remember.
If you don’t have time to read the summary below, we’ve created a short highlights video too that you can share with your colleagues:
So, where to start?
2015 was a year of growth for BTL. The number of partners we work with has expanded once again, and we’ve made over 1,725 amendments and improvements to the Surpass platform on the basis of requests and user feedback.
This has all been made possible by £2,100,000 worth of investment, resulting in the growth of our development resource (four scrum teams have expanded to ten across the UK, Ireland and Russia).
Surpass version 12 was updated periodically through the year, and each time brought with it several new features, including a new version of the API. By using ‘JSON’ and ‘REST’ architecture to improve the range of connectivity with other software providers, Surpass is now easier than ever to integrate with existing systems. Using a single sign-on, administrators can now complete tasks much more efficiently and with no disruption to workflow.
Other significant changes include branding control and the ability to upload and assess computer based projects (coursework submissions). Also, a new collaboration with RM Results means that on-screen Surpass content can now be marked in the successful RM Results e-marking software, RM Assessor.
June saw another huge announcement to benefit all Surpass customers: – BTL Learning & Assessment formed a strategic partnership with Prometric, one of the world’s largest assessment and Test Centre Network providers.
After almost 12 months of discussion and their review of over 250 providers of assessment technology, Surpass was chosen as the platform of choice due to its stability and the technology behind it. Prometric will be investing in the platform to ensure it meets the demands of their global client base, creating updates that will provide huge benefits to all users of Surpass.
You can find out more about the BTL and Prometric partnership here: http://www.btl.com/btl-announces-partnership-with-prometric/
It hasn’t all been about the core platform either. In November, Andy McAnulla proudly took to the stage at the annual Surpass Conference to unveil a new piece of software, SurpassPaper+. Put simply, this is a secure word processing app that allows exams delivered on paper to be answered and marked digitally. It is designed to usher in the evolution of paper delivery exams by creating comparability between the traditional paper response method and typed responses, while improving efficiency of the submission and marking process. A number of partners are already positive that this could usher in a significant change to the way general qualification exams are submitted and processed.
Want to find out more about SurpassPaper+?
Visit the website here: www.surpass.com/paperplus or see more of the background here:http://www.btl.com/new-software-from-btl-promotes-the-evolution-of-paper-exam-delivery/
We also continued the tradition of gathering together partners and industry peers, holding two events. The first was in celebration of our 30th anniversary working in the Learning & Assessment sector and was held at The House of Commons in Westminster. Featuring talks from guest speakers Nicky Morgan MP (Secretary of State for Education for the UK Government), Chris Jones (CEO and Director General of City & Guilds) and Prof. Peter Twining (Education Technology Action Group (ETAG)), this was a very proud moment for us, and it allowed many of our partners to speak directly to key figures in the education world.
You can see highlights from the event on our 30th anniversary page here: http://www.btl.com/btl30thforum/
So, what about 2016?
First, we will continue to improve assessment through the judicious use of technology. As we introduce more partners, Surpass will see more and more features being added as part of our routine SaaS updates, and a number of pilots are already planned for the SurpassPaper+ service.
Service Design Director Andy McAnulla talked about the Surpass Product Roadmap for 2016 at our most recent Surpass Conference, and the video below will give you an insight into what you can expect in the coming months:
As well as ongoing software development, we have also committed ourselves to visiting more of our partners at their own locations. We love to see for ourselves how Surpass is used in real testing environments, and the impact this has with staff throughout partner organisations, not just those that we regularly see in the office. These opportunities to visit partners really help us to understand how to make the best improvements to Surpass, and innovate towards general improvements to how we approach assessment.
There are also a number of case study videos and interviews that we’re working on, to make available through the BTL website over the coming year.
We also look forward to meeting more of you at the various industry events taking place through the year. If you’d like to know where you can find us, our “Events” page has all of the details you need, and will be updated regularly with new information: http://www.btl.com/events/.
And finally, from everyone here at BTL Learning & Assessment, we’d like to wish you all the best for 2016.