Disaster recovery for computer based exams

With the drive for GCSE and A levels to be computer based. The is a need for contingency and disaster recovery. Mistakes and accidents are an inevitable part of a dynamic system . While the New Zealand and Finland’s experience shows that things do go wrong for computer based exams.

Problems include:

Power storages Broadband failure Devices Failure Staff stress The correct pressure point management will give positive disaster recovery protocol. Including staff training and on the day contingency plans.


From previous experiments, the ability to control the environment is an important factor. E.g. Are the exams running of a local network or completely on the internet. While the latter is far more likely to have outages. So too with the electricity.

Encryption is a powerful tool for exam disaster mitigation. While a centre can be sent an encrypted version with a time stamp onto their local network. With a key to unlock on the day. While paper based exam reversion at any point is another sensible solution if and when the networks fail.

The answer to all of the challenges is full disaster recovery plan and training is paramount.

Public confidence in the exam process relies of the quality mitigation and disaster management. Stakeholders do not expect 100 percent perfection but they do expect policies that both reduce the likelihood of exam disasters and continual improve the exam disaster recovery protocol.