The BBC reports that in Denmark, the government has taken the bold step of allowing pupils full access to the internet during their final school year exams.

A total of 14 colleges in Denmark are piloting the new system of exams and all schools in the country have been invited to join the scheme by 2011.

Denmark is a country which has traditionally embraced modern technology. For over a decade pupils have been able to type up their exam answers on computers.

The Danish government says if the internet is so much a part of daily life, it should be included in the classroom and in examinations.

Here in Scotland we are playing catch up, as so often, with the Nordic countries with a tentative roll out of the Adapted Digital Question Papers provided by the SQA on CD-Rom. These  allow candidates to:

  • insert answers directly on to the question/answer paper on screen
  • use speech technology to have text read out

The SQA says, Candidates with difficulty accessing a standard exam paper, as a result of visual, physical, reading or writing difficulty, dyslexia or other learning difficulties may benefit from the use of Adapted Digital Question Papers. These candidates are most likely to have formerly required readers, scribes and transcription.

 Adapted Digital Answer Papers were developed by CALL Scotland and successfully piloted in the 2006 & 2007 SQA exam diet. In evaluations, candidates reported feeling more independent, confident and motivated.

While this is a very welcome move to enable access to people with literacy difficulties, it still perpetuates the factory system of examining students at a set time, in a set place, about information delivered to them didactically.

Formative assessment it ain’t. exam hall