The NSW Department of Education re-engages Year 6, 8 and 10 science students with its VALID online test.

NSW Education

In 2010, the NSW Department of Education (NSW DoE) approached us to help it shift its annual Year 6, 8 and 10 science testing from paper-based tests to online assessment. As part of a wider commitment to improving science results, the Department also wanted to give students authentic, interactive test experiences.

The challenge

At the time, delivering a large scale online school assessment was unprecedented. Supporting tens of thousands of students on the platform simultaneously posed a variety of technological challenges, particularly managing data loads. Stable, consistent delivery was vital. The platform would also need to meet the Government’s strict data sovereignty requirements.

Our solution

For the platform, we addressed key scalability, delivery and security challenges by taking a unique approach to services and architecture. We addressed data sovereignty by designing the application so that a minimum and acceptable amount of student data was stored in the cloud server environment, and only for the duration of the event.

We built multi-media tools into the exam authoring features. These allowed educators to author questions using animation that simulates practical classroom exercises, allowing students to work with virtual beakers, test tubes and measurement tools on the screen.

The result

In October 2010, Janison delivered what was then a world-first: the first standardised, successful, large-scale online assessment to nearly 40,000 students from 650 schools in one day. In 2015, more than 100,000 test attempts were delivered and marked. By 2016, the test program had doubled to 81,300 students.

Feedback from teachers involved in the early stages of the project was that the Validation of Assessment for Learning and Individual Development (VALID) had transformed from being seen by students as a dull and dreaded exam into a test that pupils now actually looked forward to. Teachers report that they’ve never seen some of their students as engaged in a classroom activity as they are when they’re participating in VALID.

We are delighted with the results. Janison are great to work with and are really leading innovation in this space.

Eric Jamieson, former Director of Education Management, NSW Department of Education

The roadmap

The VALID online assessment platform set the standard for Janison’s digital exams solutions for schools and we’re continually advancing its authoring, delivery, analysis and marking features. Due to the success of the approach, the NSW DoE has asked us to apply the VALID solution framework to a number of its other schools assessment projects.

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Statistics and key milestones


students from 650 schools sat the test in one day in 2010


pupils took the exam in 2016 – double the pilot number


students can be supported on the platform concurrently

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