Online exams accessible when needed

This could be good news for Home Educators wanting to do exams:

Online exams accessible when needed


Lawrence Henderson


iSCHOOL: Wellington College’s Lawrence Henderson believes online NCEA exams would be popular.

Pupils may soon be able to sit school assessments online when they are ready, rather than waiting for the traditional exam period.

New Zealand Qualifications Authority chief executive Karen Poutasi has outlined what she says could be a “significant cultural shift for New Zealand” in a recent speech to secondary principals about the next decade in education.

“We can reach a position within eight years where most students will be sitting examinations using a digital device,” she said.

Secondary Principals Association president Tom Parsons said the system would be of huge benefit to intelligent pupils who were being held back in the classroom while they waited for end-of-year exams.

Teachers would manage pupils at different levels because it was already happening.

“Kids don’t always learn in a meaningful and quick way unless engaged, but why shouldn’t we remove the barriers so that they can do that learning earlier in certain areas.”

He said principals supported the idea happening as soon as possible, although the structure of the classroom and teaching style would need some changes first.

Dr Poutasi said the move towards online and on-demand assessments was a response to the technology shift already happening in schools…

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The benefits of online exams at times of pupils’ own choosing will be huge for 15-year-old Lawrence Henderson and his peers.

“You would be able to tick off the subjects you excelled at and get them out of the way early, leaving you more time to study and prepare for the areas you struggled with,” said the year 11 Wellington College pupil.

Teachers were already battling to cater for a wide range of abilities, which could affect the pace of learning, Lawrence said.

“The more intelligent students get annoyed when it’s slow and then sometimes that can affect classroom behaviour.”

Technology was already a big part of learning at Wellington College after a “bring your own device” policy was introduced last year.

“Wi-fi was installed and it’s really good being able to do research for your individual projects, but we still do a lot of stuff with pen and paper, so it’s not too bad at the end of the year.

“But I think most students would be pretty happy to do it all online whenever you wanted,” he added.

“It would be different but I think everyone would see the benefits.”