Surpass Conference 2020: Summary of Speakers

Surpass Conference 2019

7-9 October 2020

The virtual Surpass Conference kicks off tomorrow, and we’ve got a fantastic selection of speakers lined up throughout the week.

Here’s a roundup of our speakers, and what they’ll be discussing with the Community during the event.


David Price, OBE, Director – Educational Arts

David Price, OBE, is an expert in organizational learning for a complex future. He writes, talks, trains and advises, around the world, on some of the biggest challenges facing business, education and society: solving the problems of employee, student and civic disengagement; maximizing our potential to be creative, innovative and fulfilled citizens, and understanding the global shift towards open organizations, and systems of learning.

In 2009, he was awarded the O.B.E. By Her Majesty the Queen, for services to education.

His first book, OPEN: How We’ll Work, Live and Learn In The Future has been an Amazon best-seller since its publication, securing around 40,000 sold copies. Goodreads readers voted it the most influential book on education in 2016.

His new book is The Power Of Us: How We Connect, Act And Innovate. The three years of research/writing involved interviews with leaders of organizations in the UK, USA, Cambodia, Australia and Malaysia. The book was substantially rewritten after the Covid-19 pandemic, which highlighted the mass ingenuity of the human race, when faced with existential threats. The book will be published on August 28th, on Thread Books.

David opens the conference and will discuss how we maintain the momentum of change seen over the last few months.

Harry Patrinos, Practice Manager – World Bank Education

Harry Anthony Patrinos is the Practice Manager for the Europe and Central Asia region of the World Bank’s education global practice. He specializes in all areas of education, especially school-based management, demand-side financing and public-private partnerships. He managed education lending operations and analytical work programs in Argentina, Colombia and Mexico, as well as a regional research project on the socioeconomic status of Latin America’s Indigenous Peoples, published as Indigenous Peoples, Poverty and Human Development in Latin America (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006). He is one of the main authors of the report, Lifelong Learning in the Global Knowledge Economy (World Bank, 2003). Mr. Patrinos has many publications in the academic and policy literature, with more than 40 journal articles. He is co-author of the books: Policy Analysis of Child Labor: A Comparative Study (St. Martin’s, 1999), Decentralization of Education: Demand-Side Financing (World Bank, 1997), and Indigenous People and Poverty in Latin America: An Empirical Analysis with George Psacharopoulos (World Bank/Ashgate, 1994). He has also worked in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America. He previously worked as an economist at the Economic Council of Canada. Mr. Patrinos received a doctorate from the University of Sussex.

Harry is speaking on Thursday 8th October where he uncovers the true cost of school closures as a result of COVID-19.

Liberty Munson, Ph.D. Senior Psychometrician – Microsoft Worldwide Learning

Liberty Munson, Ph.D. is the Senior Psychometrician for Microsoft’s Worldwide Learning organization. She is responsible for ensuring the validity and reliability of the Microsoft technical certification program. She is considered a thought leader in the certification industry, especially in areas related to how technology can fundamentally change our approach to assessment design, development, delivery, and sustainment, and has proposed many innovative ideas related to the future of certification.

Prior to Microsoft, she worked at Boeing in their Employee Selection Group, assisted with the development of their internal certification exams, and acted as a co-project manager of Boeing’s Employee Survey. She received a BS in Psychology from Iowa State University and MA and PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology with minors in Quantitative Psychology and Human Resource Management from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Liberty delivers her keynote on Friday 9th October where she explores the ways in which technology can shape the future of assessment.

Community Stories

Amanda Dainis, CEO & Lead Psychometrician – Dainis and Company

Amanda has a PhD in Psychometrics. Amanda worked at a pre-employment testing company where she became really interested in certification and licensure, especially credentialing in the workforce, and her career in psychometrics has grown from there. Amanda is now the CEO and Lead Psychometrician for Dainis and Company, based in Virginia, USA. In addition, Amanda is a lead assessor for the American National Standards Institute, specifically for ISO standard 17024.

Amanda will be discussing in-person vs remote exam development on Thursday 8th October.

Graeme Clark, Head of Service, Digital Assessment, Support Materials and Understanding Standards – SQA

Graeme worked for many years in Further Education teaching mathematics and then in the development and implementation of digital assessment and learning systems.  He has used BTL’s e-Assessment products since 2005 and is passionate about the continued use of digital technology to make a positive impact on the achievement and success of learners.

Graeme’s presentation takes place on Wednesday 7th October where he gives a view of the impact of the pandemic on the Scottish education system.

Dave Mellor, Deputy Director of Assessment – AlphaPlus

Dave Mellor is the Deputy Director of Assessment at AlphaPlus where he leads on elements of professional, vocational and academic school and college assessments, and contributes to a number of research and evaluation projects.

Prior to joining AlphaPlus, Dave was Director of Assessment and Curriculum at AQA.  He has worked in education since leaving university, first as a teacher and then for a charity, and between 2000 and 2020 for AQA, who are the largest provider of general qualifications in the UK. He held a variety of roles within AQA which mostly focused on implementing improvements to systems, processes, structures and products. His most recent role at AQA focused on leading the assessment and curriculum teams which are responsible for the design of the assessments and setting and delivering the curriculum strategy.  Prior to that he was heavily involved in the reform of GCSEs and A-levels including engaging with the DfE on the content and Ofqual on the assessment requirements for a large number of subjects.  He was responsible for overseeing the technical design of all 123 of AQA’s reformed qualifications and for setting the approach to developing assessment strategies and thus ensuring accreditation by Ofqual. He was the program manager responsible for introducing on-screen assessments at AQA and has always maintained an interest in the use of technology in assessment, particularly in the impact it can have on increasing validity of the assessments for a technology enabled generation of students.

His main interest is in understanding the different assessment requirements needed for different subjects and types of qualification in order to develop valid assessments that support good teaching and learning and that can be reliably delivered, whether that be on paper or using technology or another medium.

He spends his spare time climbing, walking and caving and as an outdoor pursuits leader for a charity.

Dave is presenting on Wednesday 7th October on the school assessment models that have been impacted most during the pandemic.

Lori Severino, Ed.D., Assistant Professor – Drexel University School of Education Co-owner – LiteracyACE

Lori Severino, Ed.D. is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education and co-owner of LiteracyACE, an educational technology company. Her research interests include dyslexia, creativity, reading comprehension and teacher training. Currently, she is working with faculty from the school of education and biomedical engineering to create a reading comprehension we-based assessment for adolescents (ACE) that uses fNIR technology to ensure the questions to the reading passages are text-based, an important factor to reduce test bias. She is co-author of a new book entitled Using Creativity to Address Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Dyscalculia: Assessments and Techniques (2021). Dr. Severino is the 2019 recipient of the Floyd G. Hudson Service Award from the International Council of Learning Disabilities for her work with the Read by 4th campaign and the School District of Philadelphia. She recently led a project to develop 6 weeks of summer content for Prekindergarten through 2nd grade delivered entirely online and free worldwide:

Mary Jean Tecce DeCarlo, Ed.D. Associate Clinical Professor – Literacy Studies at Drexel University

Mary Jean Tecce DeCarlo, Ed.D. is an Associate Clinical Professor of Literacy Studies at Drexel University and co-founder of LiteracyAce, an education technology company. During her nearly 30 years in education, Dr. DeCarlo has been a classroom teacher, a curriculum leader, and a college professor. At Drexel she has focused her research on reading comprehension and meaning making, the development of information and digital literacy skills for learners K- 12, and innovative teacher education pedagogies. Dr. DeCarlo is working with colleagues in education and biomedical engineering to create ACE (Adolescent Comprehension Evaluation), a digital reading comprehension tool. ACE uses brain-imaging techniques to validate that its test questions are text-based and has created a novel approach to measuring student progress. Her recent publications include a new book from Springer Science, Learning in Information Rich Environments: I-LEARN and the Construction of Knowledge from Information and “Critical Literacy as a Lens for Students’ Evaluation of Sources in an AP World History Class” in the journal The Social Studies.

Lori and Mary Jean tell the community about their work to develop a much needed tool for reading comprehension on Thursday 8th October.

Romana Moss, Project Manager – WSET

Romana has worked in education for over 20 years and has extensive experience across examinations in a variety of institutional settings across several roles. Romana has successfully managed several transformational projects across organizations and genuinely loves streamlining processes which allows her to create colorful process maps in VISIO.

Hear Romana speak on Friday 9th October where she discusses how a rapid implementation of remote invigilation has informed roll-out plans for computer-based testing.

We look forward to seeing you this week! Visit the conference site to view the program in full.