Advanced e-learning Portal for Teachers & Students (4-13 years)



Bildungsraum Nordwestschweiz



The Background

The swiss cantons Aargau, Basel-landschaft, Basel-stadt and Solothurn, also known as the Bildungsraum Nordwestschweiz, have set themselves a formidable goal of improving their educational system in the upcoming years.

With their joint efforts, the quality and effectiveness of the cantonal education systems can be increased. Through the development and implementation of common performance tests, as well as the development of a collection of exercises for competency-based practice and testing, the Bildungsraum Nordwestschweiz is preparing for a world-class educational ecosystem.

To ensure this is achieved, the Institut for Bildungsevaluation, the University of Zurich (IBE), and the Dutch assessment institute Cito were selected to compose all the requirements for the new system. IBE and Cito defined the advanced set of needs to reformulate the educational system for Swiss children between the age of 4 and 13, leading to the development of the new e-learning portal Mindsteps. A portal that enables students and teachers to have access to a truly advanced learning system for both high-stake and low-stake assessment based learning.


Via the e-learning portal Mindsteps the students can be regularly tested on their knowledge of various subjects throughout the year. Both students and teachers have unlimited access during the school year to an item database. Teachers can use this item database to develop their tailor-made computer based low-stake tests or learning units. Both can be allocated to a student or to a specific group of students. Students can use this item database for learning regardless of their location.

The primary function of the item database for teachers and students is to deliver data driven information about the learning processes of students. By means of differentiation within each class or learning group this instrument is adapted and advanced to support each child’s individual learning progress.

The Solution

Trifork was asked to solve the two most challenging parts of the project; providing the digital assessment platform (the heart of the system), and developing the e-learning portal Mindsteps.

The technical basis for the project is Trifork’s Digital Exam Delivery solution, a quality product which enables digital assessments of the future for many organizations. Built with the latest technologies, the platform is a scalable solution for any serious assessment organization. The low-stakes requirements of IBE creates a challenge in supporting different types of devices, something the product is very capable of doing thanks to its complete HTML5 based implementation.

The Delivery solution is completely based on IMS QTI, the worldwide standard for digital assessments. Through the support of this standard, Trifork is interoperable with many external assessment systems, like the authoring system of Cito’s Questify Builder.

With an agile project approach, Trifork has delivered the right functionality on time for the project. This has enabled the successful delivery of the Mindsteps e-learning portal, providing a solid basis for the  Bildungsraum Nordwestschweiz’s future plans.

A major reason for selecting Trifork as partner has been their Digital Exam Delivery product in combination with their extensive knowledge of large-scale digital assessment systems. We were especially impressed by their work done for the Dutch Board of Exams where they have implemented one of the most advanced digital assessment engines in an environment suited for 30.000 concurrent assessments.

Urs Moser

Head of IBE

Digital Exam Delivery Product

Trifork’s Digital Exam Delivery product is a state-of-the-art player capable of delivering and automatically scoring QTI assessments. This solution delivers the latest stable version of IMS QTI assessments to any HTML capable device.

Trifork is a trusted QTI implementation partner for many customers within the Educational domain, including integration of the Delivery solution within existing assessment environments. With the use of our client-lock-down browser technology, the Delivery solution is now also capable of securely delivering the examinations. This combined with the interoperability between several authors and assessment environments prove it to be a very powerful tool.

The Digital Exam Delivery product makes it possible to publish, deliver and score assessments for practicing, assessing and examining within any assessment environment.

Trifork has proven to be a worthy partner for us on both the technological and the digital assessment domain. In a short time span, they were capable of delivering a very advanced digital assessment system which enables us to meet our current and future needs.

Urs Moser

Head of IBE

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