Last year around 5100 students from 55 NZ schools were involved in digital trial and pilot exams that were offered for a selection of Level 1 and Level 2 NCEA subjects. Locally, this included Orewa College.
Principal Kate Shevland says the college does as many trials and pilots as possible so they are well prepared for future changes.
Students in the scheme sat their exams in a digital medium, instead of the equivalent paper one. The pilot exams were available in English, Media Studies and Classical Studies.
The trial is part of the process that the NZ Qualifications Authority (NZQA) is going through as it moves towards making all NCEA exams available online by 2020.
It follows an earlier trial of 15 Level 1 subjects in September and October – these did not count towards a student’s NCEA but could provide evidence towards a derived grade.
NZQA deputy chief executive, digital assessment transformation, Andrea Gray says that staff have been working closely with the schools involved in the pilots, and are pleased with the initial findings.
“The majority of students who started their examinations digitally completed it digitally, while a small number opted for the paper option prior to starting the examination or, in a small proportion of cases, part way through the examination,” she says.
A full evaluation of the trial and the psychometric analysis of results will be published on the NZQA website.
Planning is underway for this year’s Digital Trials and Pilots project. “This year we would like to support schools who have not participated recently in digital examinations to join us, and welcome back those who have already done so. We also intend to underpin this with a robust research and evaluation approach, so that we can better understand how, and how fast, we could move to more than one digital examination session per year in the future,’ Ms Gray says.