ChromEx for Gothenburg
A digital examination solution for 66 000 students
In 2016, Online Partner was contacted by the City of Gothenburg. They had tried several “hacks” and evaluated many assessment solutions. There were three main pain points not solved by the evaluated solutions. We were asked to create a proof of concept that could respond to their issues:
Avoid training of staff
The teachers already had too many applications and administrative systems they were supposed to use. Adding another application and training 11.000 teachers and administrators would imply resistance and high costs.
All hacks and evaluated solutions required the teacher to have assistance from the IT department or a school administrator to deliver an exam and there were no resources for an application system administrator. The teachers had to be able to manage all aspects of the exam themselves.
All evaluated solutions were too expensive, due to high license fees and the expected time loss for teachers and administrative staff. The cost needed to be much lower to enable a full city roll out of the solution.
- Basic text formatting such as text size, bold and italic and support for 10 000 characters
- Fully automated user provisioning for more than 66 000 students
- Lockdown of internet access to avoid cheating
- Offline cache if internet access would drop
- The device should be clean after the exam was submitted
Online Partner accepted the challenge and in the fall of 2016, our solution ChromEx went live in Gothenburg. These are the three most important components of our solution.
Avoid training of staff
We came to the conclusion that to avoid additional training, we had to use the knowledge the teachers and students already had. We decided to mimic the behaviour, navigation and design that Google uses in their applications. Google made this easy by releasing a design framework for free, including graphics and icons.
We also believe that the teacher should spend as much time as possible in their primary tool, G Suite. So we built integrations to Google Classroom, Drive, Docs, Calendar etc. The result makes it exceptionally easy to use, and most teachers don’t need any training at all.
The typical exam administration is; who should have done an exam at what time, on what topic and with what resources. With the integration to G Suite, we use the Google accounts that the organization already uses. We also use the Google account for signing into the application, this makes everything easy, familiar and requires no administration. Once the exam is finished the exam is converted into a Google Doc and stored on Google Drive. This makes it easy to find, mark and comment using your existing skills and add-ons.
We can make the application long term affordable by:
- Following the Google material design interface, avoiding costly design work
- User-driven development where we plan and build features by requests from teachers
- ChromEx is built on Google Cloud Platform which is secure by default, scalable and affordable
It started as a collaboration and proof of concept and turned into a new application for digital exams – ChromEx. Since the launch, the use of ChromEx has spread all over the world and has been used to write several million exams. It is continuously developed to adapt to teachers requested improvements and adjustments and now has an impressive set of features.