3 Dec 2018

More NCEA exams to be available online next year

4:19 pm on 3 December 2018

More students will be sitting online exams for NCEA next year, as 14 more subjects go digital.

Paraparaumu College students sit trial online exams.

Paraparaumu College students sit trial online exams. Photo: RNZ / John Gerritsen

The 14 new subjects means there will be 35 online exams in 2019, the Qualifications Authority has announced.

It said the exams to be offered online next year would include history, te reo Māori, and business studies.

The number of just how many students would opt for online exams is unknown and the authority's deputy chief executive digital transformation Andrea Gray would not give an estimate.

However, she said about 8000 students in 52 schools sat this year's nine online exams in English, media studies and classical studies.

Ms Gray said the authority planned to put exams for foreign languages online in 2020, but maths and the sciences were further off.

She said students were accustomed to writing maths and science formulas and equations using pen and paper, rather than on computers where particular key combinations were required in order to type special characters and symbols.

In trial exams only 50 percent of students preferred an online option for science compared to 98 percent for text-based subjects, Ms Gray said.

She said online exams could include assistive technologies to help students who had Special Assessment Conditions for learning disabilities and the online format could also help students with undiagnosed learning difficulties.

Today's announcement followed the authority's admission last month that it would not achieve its goal of having most exams available online by 2020.

This year's NCEA exams finished last week and the Qualifications Authority said it would publish students' results on 15 January, with Scholarship results available on 7 February 2019.

The full list of exams that will be available online in 2019, mostly at levels 1-3:

  • Agricultural and Horticultural Science
  • Art History
  • Business Studies
  • Classical Studies
  • Education for Sustainability
  • English
  • Health
  • History
  • Home Economics
  • Latin (levels 1 and 2 only)
  • Media Studies
  • Social Studies
  • Te Reo Māori (level 1 only)
  • Te Reo Rangatira (level 1 only)

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