Spin-off D-PAC develops software program for comparative assessment

(30-11-2018) UAntwerpen, imec and Ghent University launch new spin-off D-PAC that brings a comparative assessment software program onto the market.

UAntwerp, imec and UGent have launched a new spin-off. D-PAC, short for Digital Platform for Assessment or Competences, brings a pioneering software platform on the market for a more efficient and fairer assessment of all kinds of student papers. The software focuses on comparative assessment: a method in which you do not evaluate each workpiece separately, but in direct comparison with random others. D-PAC optimized the existing method and poured it in a digital jacket so that it can easily be imported on a large scale. After four years of product development, D-PAC is now ready to conquer the world.

Assessment is difficult. Nevertheless, teachers worldwide have to give scores on workpieces that are almost impossible to objectively evaluate. Maarten Goossens, founder and CEO D-PAC: "Why does one drawing deserve a six and the other a seven? And does an essay get an eight because it really is that good, or because the teacher happens to be in a good mood? The proven method of comparative assessment offers a solution here and thanks to D-PAC you can now easily apply them. "

Statistical model

In the case of comparative assessment, several evaluators are each given two pieces of work next to each other. They must then choose which is the better of the two. By making a number of random combinations and involving sufficient evaluators, a well-founded sequence is created from lesser to better quality on the basis of a statistical model.
Although very effective and objective, this method is almost impossible to implement offline because of the many possible combinations and the statistics behind it. D-PAC now has a platform that automates this entire process. This means a major breakthrough in making assessments transparent and objective. At school, but also in applications, subsidy assessments, choosing options within an agile software process and many other assessments.

To conquer the world

D-PAC arose from a strategic research project (SBO) of the University of Antwerp, imec and Ghent University, in which educational experts cooperated with software developers. When the research ended after four years, the three founders - Maarten Goossens, Marije Lesterhuis and Roos Van Gasse - joined the imec innovation team at the beginning of this year and the UAntwerp Technology Transfer Department for support in the valorisation of their accumulated knowledge. After an internal trajectory of twelve weeks, they managed to secure the necessary start-up funds thanks to imec and the Industrial Research Fund (IOF) of the University of Antwerp. In doing so, they financed the latest product development and finalized their business strategy.

D-PAC focuses primarily on the Flemish and Dutch education market and can already count on the first paying customers. For the technical development it builds on a multi-year partnership with Infanion, a Belgian-Indian software builder. The ambition is to conquer the world, not only in the education sector, but in all sectors where objective evaluations are a necessity. For this D-PAC also wants to call on imec.istart or other startup accelerator programs.