Students will take digital mock exams in a new trial

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

Students will be offered GCSE in Computer Science, IGCSE in English and History at AS level under the OCR and Cambridge International examination boards.

The mock tests will take place in weekly sessions until March 19 and will be based on real exams as they are graded by Cambridge examiners, the exams board said.

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

Cambridge University Press & Assessment said it is testing the digital tests in up to 30 UK schools and 35 around the world.

Its assessment experts believe that digital exams will become a permanent part of the exam system for GCSEs, IGCSEs and A-levels, and it wants to offer digital mock exams to all schools after the tests.

The Pearson-led Edexcel exam board said it has similar plans for digital exams, while AQA has also been piloting digital assessment.

Jill Duffy, CEO of OCR, said: “Digital assessment is not a hypothetical future, it’s happening right now.

“We will use the insights from these tests to make our digital mocks a user-friendly option for all schools and universities.

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

“Students and teachers embraced digital learning out of necessity during the pandemic. Now we can take advantage of the best of that technology in the evaluation by choice.

“Digital assessment will never completely replace traditional exams, but technology is improving the student experience and can make exams more effective, resilient, and flexible with access to feedback and faster results.”

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

The trials will take place in some 20 schools around the world, from Chile to Zambia.

Rod Smith, managing director of the international education group 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 creating digital priority qualifications around the world, exploring the immense potential of digital exams that can go beyond the limitations of paper, while offering more flexible and personalized options.”

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