Students to take digital mock exams in new trial

Thousands of students are to take digital mock exams in the coming weeks in a new pilot test, an exam board has said.

TGMO for students in Computer Science, IGCSEs in English and AS-level History will be conducted under the OCR and Cambridge International exam boards.

The mock tests will run in weekly sessions until March 19 and will be based on real exam papers and marked by Cambridge examiners, the exam board said.

Schools will pay around £10 for each digital exam and students will receive their results within two weeks.

Cambridge University Press & Assessment said they are trialling the digital tests in up to 30 schools in the UK and 35 around the world.

Assessment experts believe digital exams will become a permanent part of the exam system for GCSEs, IGCSEs and A-levels – and want to offer all schools digital mock exams after the tests.

Exam board Edexcel, which is run by Pearson, said it has similar plans for digital exams, while AQA is also running digital assessment pilots.

Jill Duffy, chief executive of OCR, said: “Digital assessment is not a hypothetical future, it is happening now.

“We will use insights from these trials to make our digital solutions easier to use for all schools and colleges.

“Students will be able to take the highest quality online tests, building on our established paper exams, when schools choose to do so. Our trial and research-based development approach ensures that we deliver strong, high-quality digital assessments.

“Students and teachers have embraced digital learning as a necessity during the pandemic. Now we can take advantage of the best of that technology in a three-choice assessment.

“Digital assessment won’t completely replace traditional exams, but technology is improving the student experience and can make exams more efficient, resilient and flexible with faster access to feedback and results.”

Cambridge said it also wants to trial assessments for a new digital computing qualification that will run alongside the existing IGCSE in Computer Science.

The trials are to be held in around 20 schools around the world, from Chile to Zambia.

Rod Smith, group managing director for international education at Cambridge University Press & Assessment, said: “We are looking to the future, taking steps forward informed by input from teachers, industry and our researchers.

“We are building the world’s first digital qualifications, exploring the huge potential of digital exams that can transcend the boundaries of paper, while offering more flexible and personalized options.”

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