OCR is launching new trials of digital GCSE mock exams this week, paving the way for digital exams as a permanent part of the system.
Thousands of students are set to sit on-screen mock 'high stakes' exams for the first time starting this week, as we launch major trials in schools.
OCR is offering GCSE Computer Science as on-screen 'mock' tests in early 2023 while our sister organisation, Cambridge International, offers IGCSEs in English and AS Level History.
Jill Duffy, Chief Executive of OCR, said: "Students and teachers embraced digital learning by necessity during the pandemic. Now we can harness the best of that technology in assessment by choice."
The digital mock trials for OCR's GCSE Computer Science, and Cambridge International's IGCSEs in English and AS Level History, will run in weekly sessions until 19 March. We are trialling the digital tests in up to 30 UK schools and 35 around the world.
The on-screen mocks, based on real exam papers, will be marked by Cambridge examiners and results delivered to students within 14 days.
Following these 2023 trials, the digital mock service will be offered to all schools as a permanent part of OCR’s assessment services.
Jill Duffy, Chief Executive of OCR, said: "Digital assessment is not a hypothetical future; it's happening right now. We will use insights from these trials to make our digital mocks a user-friendly option for all schools and colleges. Students will be able to take the highest quality online tests, building on our established paper exams, where schools opt to do so. She explained our evidence-based approach: "Our development approach based on trials and research ensures we deliver high-quality, robust digital assessments. Digital assessment will never fully replace traditional exams, but technology is improving the student experience and can make exams more effective, resilient and flexible with access to faster feedback and results."
We are building a future where digital assessments go beyond the limits of paper tests. Digital qualifications have the potential to be more interactive and give students the chance to demonstrate skills that are more authentic to the subject.
Experts in Cambridge International will be trialling assessments early this year for a new digital computer qualification that could run alongside the existing IGCSE in Computer Science. Trials will take place in approximately 20 schools in countries from Chile to Zambia. Students will be able to demonstrate coding and problem-solving skills which are closer to industry practice in a series of mini tests.
A second Cambridge International project set to run in 2023 will investigate how a digital A Level history qualification could be assessed to better meet the needs of young historians. For example, it will look at new ways of assessing sources, including capturing annotations digitally and looking at longer sources and curated online source banks.
Rod Smith, Group Managing Director for Cambridge International, said: "We are looking into the future, taking steps forward informed by input from teachers, industry and our researchers. We're building digital-first qualifications around the world, exploring the immense potential for digital exams that can reach beyond the limitations of paper, while offering more flexible and personalised options."