School IT is the barrier to entry for computer based exams
A schools IT department is a unique space within the school real estate.
Sitting in the nexus of the virtual learning environment and the real world. Creating a setting that is complex and constantly evolving. While being specialist to operate.
To illustrate an example, the 20219 the 2019 national voluntary pilot of the Multiplication Tables Check by the Standards and Testing Agency which had 2/3rd of UK primary schools participating. Found 424 combinations of browser and operating systems. This was at the simpler, quieter end of education. It is safe to say it would be a lot lot more variations and complexity at secondary schools.
The combinations create a high barrier to entry. With advice and guidance difficult and expensive to come by.
The critical path to delivering the IT systems in a school or exam centre to provide exam services depends on a lot of factors. Including whether to delivery is online or on screen visa vie whether they are device agnostic.
The whole exercise boils down to the ability of the school to deliver a solid IT scalable solution perfectly designed for mass computer based exams
The most obvious challenge is the lack of quality devices at a specific specification at the right time at the right place. Computer based exams within schools needs consistency in quality and space all at once. For a whole of the cohort this is particularly pinching wit the large volume of national exams such as Maths and English GCSE.
In other countries where schools have deployed successful computer based operations it has come from state funded procurement for ‘Exam Ready’ computers and devices. A simple plug and play solution which take huge buying power. Coupled with the ‘Bring your own device’ solutions.
The plug and play exam ready solutions have huge capital outlay along with ongoing maintenance with rapid obsolescence.Continual investment is required to prevent wholesale obsolescence and in compatibility.
It is a brave organisation to have all this investment and running cost deployed for use within such a short space of the year.