Broadband and networks for successful computer based exams

Broadband and networks for successful computer based exams

Barriers to entry for computer based exams may not just be down to devices. Others more non visual barriers exist for successful deployment of computer based exams.

These include but not exclusively:

broadband connections Network capabilities

Both especially in rural areas.

Examples of good practice. In rural Finland with frequent power cuts and intermittent broadband. They used encrypted exams at a specific time ahead of time and are then duly distributed onto the local network to maintain integrity without a reliance on the national broadband speeds and local consistent power. They made sure they had back up power deploying the exam on their own network.

Inequalities in Broadband service

There is a need to have a broadband network that reduces the inequalities in service. Consistency is key to keep the playing field as fair as possible.

Time to adapt:

Teachers and school staff need to be trained up to a level to feel comfortable and proficient of the new computer based exam regime. With the understanding of the wide variation in IT competency in school staff.

The covid crisis fast tracked delivering quality teaching online. While also providing great training for deploying computer based exams in schools.


Different network and security settings need to be aligned with the understanding and competency of staff.

Note, exam candidates might gain unequal support if training teaching are more or less comfortable.

In previous examples, the NZ Government suggests that in classroom networks were used for their computer based exams. To maintain understanding and comfort from the teachers who are deploying the exams with the network.

Knowledge of how to act when things go wrong

Examples include computers updating mid exam, power cut, software crashing all require schools to have protocols in place. Clear roles, responsibilities for IT delivery especially at the time of high stakes exams like GCSE and A level. With clear responses to action for every scenario is key.

Providing all reasonable efforts to maintain a level playing field in the exam taking.