Online exams: Wales could soon offer digital examinations

February 24, 2020

Watchdog chair urges for a move towards completing GCSE exams online

Online exams: Wales could soon offer digital examinations

During an interview with the BBC, David Jones, Chair of Qualifications Wales commented that pupils may soon complete GCSE exams online.  This news comes following an announcement of a curriculum shake up in January which is due to launch in 2022.  Mr. Jones references the need for online exams to match the way teenagers live their lives and the fact that a lot of education takes place online through learning platforms.

A consulatation period is underway to determine whether exams could be delivered electronically by 2026.  Mr. Jones acknowledged that the technology would need to be reliable to make this change.  This point was highlighted by the technical issues experienced last May during the administration of a WJEC GCSE computer science examination.  Mr. Jones referenced similar issues which were encountered in Scotland when delivering online exams.

“It doesn’t seem right if children spend most of their life using technology and then once or twice a year they have to go back to do traditional examinations that are at least 50 years old,” David Jones OBE DL, Chair of Qualifications Wales

Mr. Jones highlighted the need to remain competitive with the rest of the world.  In Australia, Monash University has pledged to have 80% of its examinations in a digital format by the end of this year.  In India, students at a number of universities such as Manipal Academy of Higher Education are using an ePad system called Paperless Examinations Advantage to complete digital examinations.

Later in the interview, Mr. Jones expressed his desire to retain the GCSE brand, despite calls for this to be scrapped by the Future Generations Commissioner.  He commented that the brand is well established and that it is the contents of the qualification that are important.