Devices in schools for computer based exams

Devices in schools for computer based exams

There are no more barrier than devices in school. How they are deployed, maintained and their eventual effectiveness that defines the success of computer based exams.

The challenges are wide and varied. Especially in the cross year group large exams for GCSE and A levels. There are others especially around access arrangements coming down to per pupil and per school situation. Below is an over arching consideration of the device challenge.

  • Sufficient numbers of devices with consistent specifications for the whole year to sit exams at the same time .Especially with those exams with a great deal of data entry. These exam ready devices are key to the success.

  • Laptop or desktop devices for extended response response requirements are most suited for the job.

  • Teaching and learning can come from a range of different devices including tablet and mobile phone size. Plus other electronic devices that add a sensory addition to the learning.

The laptop / desktop exam scenario has potential savings build in. Including reduced printing and exam logistics. No exams need to be sent through the post.

A range of devices provide a multitude of challenges

there is a hybrid model available. With exam questions delivered on screen with exam candidates replying and responding to the questions with the pen and paper format.

This blended model allows for a wide range of devices to be used. Including ‘bring your own’' device. Using a common browser delivering a time exam.

This BYOD solution adjusts the barriers to entry. They include: Compatibility the devices have between them, browser specifications, operating systems and speed. Plus screen size, scrolling capabilities, compatibility with keyboards

Integration into existing incumbent IT tools. E.g. Wifi routers maybe incompatible with some BYOD.

Standard software solutions may produce different outcomes. Such as spreadsheet adjustments across different variations.

Online / On-screen exams require executable fit to be installed in ‘Host Devices’. To mitigate the malpractice and security challenges. This file provides the biggest risk for the exam taking candidate. Including the hacking and cyber compromise .

The fairness of BYOD with different exam candidates having higher or lower quality devices asks serious question about the fairness and equity of the BYOD approach. Plus the inevitable examples where exam candidates cannot produce their own having to use a device that they need to become familiar with.


the outcome quality of fairness with different exam candidate groups, schools and whole cohorts produce a range of variations.

While the risk of this dis advantage of pupils without personal device extra provision would be needed to cater for this most ‘at risk group’.

While the Exam house is looking for individuals to become examiners. All of the examining work is done through computer based processes. So if examiners can exam so too can exam candidates sit exams.