Computers and Exams

Computers and Exams

The arrival of screen based testing has been a long time coming. Predicted for decades. There is a broad body of research examining the benefits and pitfalls of implementing computer based exams in the range of contexts. The implantation will have wide ranging consequences. Not those who are just in school. Access arrangements, home schoolers and private candidates will all be affected by the implementation of computers in exms.

Computer based exams will become the norm

For the sake of this study we assume ‘online exams’. Also means computer based exams. However, this might change in future with Virtual reality and exams being the next frontier.

Computer based exams are directly in line with our digital lives. While currently GCSE and A level exams are nearly all paper and pen. While the benefits spelt out with the decades of research and the huge social change that has come with the recent and on going digital revolution. The exam boards, schools and regulators have been glacial in reaching down the rabbit hole of computer based exams. Now with Covid this could not be more prescient.

Scant progress has yet been made in England for the higher stake exams such as GCSE and A levels.

What are the barriers of entry and why is adaption so slow?

Barriers need to be illustrated to be broken down. The report hopes to do that. While this review hope to spell out what is needed to over come the inertia.

There are ramifications of computer based exams go beyond Ofqual’s remit. Including what happens to the school year if computer based examining becomes the norm. While exam candidates begin to be able to sit exams when they like. Rather than when the exam boards and schools are scheduled to run the exams. We have talked about this topic along with exam access in a previous blog.

The report is specifically interested in what is preventing and what is driving the desire to go online for computer based exams .

The closure of education establishment over the pandemic. Turbo charged the desire to teacher virtually and test through computers.

If nearly all industries have computer online components of learning and assessment. So why is it that schools have failed so far to take it up with much gusto? Now is the time to focus on getting exams to the sunny uploads of computer based exams. Whether this will be a lightening rod for schools reform is another matter and for another time. This blog has advocated it will be as the genie is now out the bottle. It will be very hard to put back in.