Open Assessment Technologies, (OAT) is one of the leading global education technology companies. The company provides Open Source Assessment Technology to assessment organizations across the globe. We sat down with Marc Oswald, CEO and Co-Founder of OAT to learn more about OAT’s success.
Q: Marc, tell us something more about OAT?
A: OAT is an assessment innovation company and the publisher of TAO®, the world’s leading open source platform. Founded in 2013, OAT has quickly established itself as a recognized leader in the Educational Technology industry, offering assessment organizations across the globe the ability to freely author and deliver their own tests using TAO. The commercial version of TAO is derived from research in assessment technology conducted by the University of Luxembourg in cooperation with the Luxembourg Institute of Technology (LIST). By exploiting the synergies between research in knowledge technology and its application in large-scale international studies, OAT has gained worldwide recognition in developing and deploying computer-based assessment solutions that are grounded in scientific validity.
OAT chairs the IMS Executive Board on Assessment, co-chairs the QTI standards committee, and is a lead author of the next-gen QTI specification. TAO is certified by IMS Global as compliant with the industry’s latest open standards, including QTI, APIP, PNP, and LTI. The TAO Community Edition is freely available under a GPL2 license.
OAT partners with organizations across a range of sectors including the K-12, Higher Education and Career Advancement markets, and gives all clients the power of OPEN—as in open source and open standards—which has proven to significantly reduce the costs and complexities of delivering assessments. TAO incorporates best of breed tools to deliver assessments immediately and successfully, and enables easy customization to meet customer’s specific needs. We have found that by offering a readily available open source solution along with the option of world renowned assessment technology expertise, we can help advance educational organizations that want full control of their assessment solution—yet don’t have the depth of technology resources to create their own, and don’t wish to be locked into a vendor’s proprietary system. TAO allows assessment organizations to concentrate their efforts on their content and programs, and frees them from the rigors of technology development. OAT’s market-ready TAO solution brings cutting edge technology and industry best practices to the sector—along with the very attractive price point that is a function of OPEN!
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Q: OAT offers tools & services that allows your clients to incorporate assessment into their digital products quickly. What are the main benefits of your offering?
A: At OAT, our focus is on innovation within the standards and our goal has always been to deliver a solution that tears down the product and data silos that are typical within the assessment and learning offerings of vendors in this space. We handle the technical aspects of open source and open standards so that our clients are able to concentrate on assembling their offering by leveraging the content and data they already own. Of course, clients can also use TAO’s item authoring module and customized workflows to develop traditional and next generation content to add to their offering. TAO puts the client in full control of their assessment assets, decreases their overall costs and significantly increases their ability to simply and rapidly deliver a full range of assessments online. With TAO you can create tests, register your test-takers, deliver tests online and aggregate results into reports when you’re done.
TAO is already used by millions of students in over 70 countries, giving our clients confidence in the scalability and reliability of our solution. OAT handles all hosting, maintenance, and support of the system and releases new features, usability enhancements and under-the-hood updates on a regular basis, enabling our clients to continually improve their offering at no cost.
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Q: What makes OAT different from other assessment technology companies?
A: We’ve deliberately focused on creating an open, modular solution that eliminates the reliance on proprietary products that are expensive to deploy and that lock customers into closed technology stacks. We alleviate customer dissatisfaction and pain points by providing open solutions that disaggregate – or unlock – their assessment content (tests, exams, quizzes, etc.) from proprietary authoring and delivery systems. We’ve removed the need for customers to use a single end-to-end vendor platform since TAO gives them the ability to utilize or create innovative content on top of open standards. Along with the technical freedom of using TAO, customers can mix and match their desired content within their own system and be assured that their assessment investment is under their own control, and protected well into the future.
Q: TAO was recently named as a Trendsetter with Traction by the SIIA (Software and Industry Information Association), tell us something more about this?
A: We were honored to be recognized as a Trendsetter with Traction at SIIA’s 2016 Education Industry Symposium (July 25-27 in Denver, CO.) This distinction recognizes our growing presence in the global testing and assessment market, and validates our strategy for enhancing the TAO platform as a foundation for adaptive learning. By combining open source with open standards and open APIs, we’re creating the kind of open learning environments that educators are requiring in order to offer personalized learning experiences.
As a nominee for the Trendsetters with Traction we were evaluated on our product’s sound educational principles and innovative technology – and just as importantly, on our ability to capture interest among students, educators and EdTech companies. Being recognized for breaking new ground in our market segment was another very visible stamp of approval on our direction and the value of our solution offering.
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Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: At OAT, we anticipate that the rapid transition of assessment delivery from paper to digital will drive customers to expect self-service and auto-configuring cloud solutions that make assessments available at the push of a button, anywhere and at any time. So, while we continue to offer and enhance the Community Edition we are also developing the next-generation TAO Cloud™ edition. TAO Cloud will provide on-demand scalability and technical support in a very flexible, fee-based model.
With the rapidly growing demand for digital assessments, we are, of course, expanding our presence in the United States, and are investing in our Luxembourg head-office to continue serving the European and Emerging Markets. It’s a very exciting time in the industry and we are delighted that our offering has been so well-received by notable clients including ACT, the State of Florida, the Ministries of Education in France and Italy, the United Nations and the University of South Africa. The OAT team is committed to continue to lead the field with our open solutions, and to empower our customers to be in full control of their assessments for many years to come.Activate Social Media: