MZ Development: OSCAR - Next Generation Distributed Scoring Platform

Miles Loring, CTO
Constructed-response item types are increasingly considered a better measure of critical thinking and analytical skills – often referred to as higher-order thinking. The increased adoption of these new “Second-Generation Assessments” have called attention to the need for an accurate, efficient and cost-effective tool to score these innovative item types. MZ Development - led by a team of individuals with over 60 years of collective experience in performance scoring, online assessment administration and artificial intelligence (AI) scoring, saw this as an opportunity.

The ability to introduce performance assessment items and quality scoring into current assessments was a costly and time-consuming endeavor for any organization – small or large. MZ Development developed a software platform, called OSCAR, specifically to address this problem. Under the oversight of the Chief Technology Officer, Miles Loring, MZ Development built a state-of-the-art, next generation platform for online scoring and reporting that boasts a set of features to accommodate a variety of performance scoring requirements, while still achieving the primary goal of providing an accurate, simple and affordable solution.

OSCAR is ideally suited as a replacement for outdated, cumbersome and expensive solutions from commercial vendors, but also presents an ideal alternative for state or district implementations where control and cost are primary considerations. “MZ Development is primarily targeting the two market segments; educational organizations with outdated legacy systems that are confronting questions around cost of ownership, and states & districts that have used conventional paper and pencil scoring solutions because existing system proved to be too expensive to implement. OSCAR provides an ideal alternative for both of these markets,” remarks Loring.

OSCAR offers fast and accurate scoring for online or paper-based assessments, along with comprehensive reporting features, which enable even non-technical users to set-up and score projects that require complex scoring rules. OSCAR’s quality monitoring tools provide raters with a real-time snapshot of project performance for scoring and allow administrators to export assessment data at any point during the scoring project to conduct additional analysis and reporting. The system provides users with integrated chat and video conference capability and is infinitely scalable.

One of our biggest strengths is that create meaningful partnerships with our clients and empower them with tools that make assessment more accurate, efficient and affordable

Raters can be recruited from anywhere and trained remotely with OSCAR’s online comprehensive training, practice and qualification features, making true online distributed scoring a reality, not just a pipe dream.

Each MZ Development customer has had a unique set of requirements for their particular performance scoring needs and OSCAR has proven to be an ideal solution for all of them, regardless of the size and scale of the projects. In those instances where OSCAR did not address specific requirements, MZ Development built out platform functionality to support them. “One of our biggest strengths is that create meaningful partnerships with our clients and empower them with tools that make assessment more accurate, and efficient and affordable,” says Loring.

For 2018, MZ Development is focused on working with strategic assessment partners, districts, states and universities to address the rapid adoption of performance assessment items and the need to provide a solution to score those items accurately, efficiently and cost effectively. Leveraging leading edge technology solutions, OSCAR is infinitely scalable and provides outstanding system performance. In addition, MZ Development is working with leading providers of AI engines to incorporate automated scoring directly into OSCAR to support additional efficiencies and quality control capabilities.

MZ Development and OSCAR are leading the way to more efficient and affordable utilization of performance scoring items in today’s innovative assessments. “Better quality assessments and reporting make for less testing and more opportunity for classroom instruction. Performance items and the ability to easily score and report on those items is critical to that task. OSCAR is an essential tool in that transformation, and we’ve made it easy for educators to use it.”

MZ Development

Iowa City, IA

Miles Loring, CTO

Built OSCAR, a platform for fast, accurate and cost-effective distributed online scoring and reporting

MZ Development