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IT News Thread, GCSEs and A levels should all be taken on computers says exams watchdog in Other News; Time for pupils to take screen tests, says watchdog - Times Online Every child who starts school next autumn should ...
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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    Exclamation GCSEs and A levels should all be taken on computers says exams watchdog

    Time for pupils to take screen tests, says watchdog - Times Online

    Every child who starts school next autumn should be able to do their GCSEs and A levels on computer screens rather than with pen and paper, the exams watchdog says.
    Never mind the technical issues:

    ...this is a quote from the head of Ofqual...
    Ms Tattersall said: “Would it be a great loss to the world if we all lost our great handwriting? It would not be much of a loss to the world if my skill in handwriting had gone. It has always been illegible. Doing my essays at university on a typewriter which I had was a great blessing for all concerned.”
    OMG! No wonder standards are declining!

    I still think they'll have trouble with Art and Technology (food tech?) on computers

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    I've got the pitchforks, who's bringing torches and the battering ram?

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    Andrew_C's Avatar
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    I read that one too... Laughed out loud. A hollow, sickened laugh; it'll end in blood, sweat and (many, many) tears.

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    garethedmondson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elsiegee40 View Post
    Time for pupils to take screen tests, says watchdog - Times Online



    Never mind the technical issues:

    ...this is a quote from the head of Ofqual...


    OMG! No wonder standards are declining!

    I still think they'll have trouble with Art and Technology (food tech?) on computers
    Our Applied ICT in Year 12 and 13 already do their exam on the screen. They have a one hour test in a closed application supplied by BTL called SecureAssess. This saves data back to our local SecureAssess server which in turn sends it on to the exam board. The second two hours of the exam is also done on screen but involves practical tests.

    Applied Business (12/13) is also done online using the BTL software.

    From September this year our GCSE Electronics course will also involve an online exam.

    In all of these scenarios a paper version of the exam is supplied (and in our school an English version as well).

    Most coursework will now involve a computer as well as they turn into 'Controlled Assignments'. I know the new WJEC GCSE course involves controlled assignments rather than coursework.

    The problem with controlled assignments in other subjects is that all of a sudden they all want to do them on the computers. As the OP pointed out this could be a logistical nightmare. Already we have to close 2 ICT rooms on January 14th because pupils need 1.5metres each side to avoid copying. This means we can get 10 pupils in a room of 26 computers. I have 20 pupils sitting the exam in January.

    With no extra funding for ICT suites it is going to hit hard.

    GJE

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Great advice from someone whose never experienced the pleasure of using AQA software. I can see the headlines now...

    "MILLIONS FAIL GCSE's DUE TO SOFTWARE FAILURE"

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    We did tell you this: Going to meet 'The Man' on your behalf

    They are consultimg with us (you!) on this, as we are the experts in schools, and they really need our advice, not critisism. Online testing is coming, for real, so the sooner we get some answers and solutions in place the sooner we can jump the hurdles heading our way.
    We have a chance here to show our expertise to a very large field, so lets get our thinking hats on.
    Oh, and no wireless suggestions please, as there are still issues about it and exams.

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    glennda's Avatar
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    we have the allan on screen testing, its the same software they use for the driving theory test, and it never works!!

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    Quackers's Avatar
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    Yes at long last get rid of these written papers. We do the ALAN, and although its not the best software in the world, its a better system than the pen and paper.

    As long as they get the software right, maybe bring exambase back, as that just worked, i'm all for it.

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    broc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box View Post
    We did tell you this: Going to meet 'The Man' on your behalf
    Oh, and no wireless suggestions please, as there are still issues about it and exams.
    You better get this message across to the architects & designers of new schools then; they see wireless as their 'saviour' as it saves loads of expensive cables, specialist furniture and restrictive room layouts.

    I think online testing & assessment is a good idea in principle, especially if it cuts down the amount of cheating that goes on with coursework.... and of course has some decent software behind it, preferably independent of the exam boards ....
    Last edited by broc; 18th December 2009 at 08:36 AM.

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box View Post
    We did tell you this: Going to meet 'The Man' on your behalf

    They are consultimg with us (you!) on this, as we are the experts in schools, and they really need our advice, not critisism. Online testing is coming, for real, so the sooner we get some answers and solutions in place the sooner we can jump the hurdles heading our way.
    I don't have a problem with online testing per se. More the muppets they get to write/design the software. Same with most education software though. Why go to the complexities of a Java based client/server system that crashes as soon as you look at it when a well designed secure website would do just as well? It seems (especially with the AQA stuff) they ignore the first principle of design - KISS.

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    skunk's Avatar
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    I'm all for online testing.

    All we need is the funding to achieve a dedicated suite of 200 pcs that only get used during exams and mocks.

    A permanent facility just for exams with the requisite 1.5m between workstations. (with side booths for the students who need readers / writers / huggers / etc).

    Black Box servers supplied by the Exam boards, that they manage remotely to host the exams software locally.

    I am not attempting to take the mick with these suggestions, they are very serious. That is the only way that online testing in all subjects would not significantly impact on the use of ICtin the rest of the school.

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    Quote Originally Posted by garethedmondson View Post
    Our Applied ICT in Year 12 and 13 already do their exam on the screen. They have a one hour test in a closed application supplied by BTL called SecureAssess.
    .....

    The problem with controlled assignments in other subjects is that all of a sudden they all want to do them on the computers. As the OP pointed out this could be a logistical nightmare. Already we have to close 2 ICT rooms on January 14th because pupils need 1.5metres each side to avoid copying. This means we can get 10 pupils in a room of 26 computers. I have 20 pupils sitting the exam in January.

    With no extra funding for ICT suites it is going to hit hard.

    GJE
    We do that here as well. And my concerns are also the amount of IT suites required, there's no way we could do a whole year group at once for anything! Not to mention the knock on effect for having to ship classes out of IT suites for a few lessons whilst the exam is on.... Then there's the extra invigilators required as now there's exams in several IT suites as well as the gym/hall/etc

    I'll take a look at Dos_box's other thread, I suspect my comments are better placed there!

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    bossman's Avatar
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    We have been using various online exams here for the past 3 years and all seem to be working very well only had a couple of minor glitches which have been sorted very quickly and efficiently.

    I do think that the software does require a little more thought in the design and appropriation but overall I do see this as the way forward for all exam boards.
    Even the choice of uploading course work to a secure repository within the Exam boards domain would help tremendously alieviate the time consuming hard copy packaged delivery method which they incorporate at this moment in time.

    If all the exam boards actually worked together in a collaborative way I am sure they would be able to devise a system between them which would fulfil all of the countries educational exam needs and requirements without impacting the schools in a negative way.

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    The problem is (for large whole-year exams) it's way more efficient to stick a hundred students in a hall with invigilators, than try and run the same exam(s) in computer rooms that normally have a max capacity of 30-35, especially given you can only use 15 of those machines once spaced out.

    I can't fit 100 kids into computer rooms / laptop trolleys under those requirements and have sufficient classrooms for normal lessons.

    Good online exams do work well, but online exams for whole year groups don't work well with computer rooms based around seating standard class sizes.

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