9 Nov 2017

Digital exams a step closer

From Nine To Noon, 9:09 am on 9 November 2017

The government plans to give students the option of doing their NCEA exams online by 2020.

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Photo: RNZ/John Gerritsen

This year more than 5000 students at 55 schools are sitting some of their exams on computers.

The students have the option of doing exams in English, classical studies and media studies, but the Qualifications Authority wants to extend that to most or all exams by 2020.

Trials are continuing in subjects like maths where symbols and lines are used as well as words and numbers.

Authority chief executive Karen Poutasi told Nine to Noon the move away from paper exams reflected the times, with children more likely to learn online than in writing.

"They're learning on computers," Dr Poutasi said.

"I've been roundly berated by principals who say (they) take students off their digital devices so they can practice learning for your exams."

"That's not the real world for them. Because students today, they're writing an English essay... they put it into their device, they cut and paste, and then we ask them to sit a paper exam."

Dr Poutasi said the exam software blocks students from going online to look for answers, but in the future they could move towards more interactive, or open-book exams where people could use the Internet.