This year about 20 Wellington secondary school pupils with
special learning needs will test new technology for
delivering NCEA external examinations.
• Push for
extra help in low-decile schools
They will listen to a recording of some of their exams,
rather than have a person reading the exam to them.
New Zealand Qualifications Authority deputy chief executive
(qualifications) Richard Thornton said the trial was expected
to cost between $50,000 and $100,000.
It would involve pupils using headphones linked in to a
digital device for level 1 English, economics and maths
Pupils taking part in the trial would also have
reader/writers available to assist if necessary and to ensure
they were not disadvantaged.
There would be a pre-examination trial within the schools
involved so pupils were familiar with the technology.
If the trial is successful NZQA hopes it could introduce the
technology across at least one level 1 subject the following
year for some pupils who
receive help under the Special Assessment Conditions (Sac)
It was important for exams to be delivered in a way which was
appropriate and the best fit for the learner and which did
not put a burden on schools, Mr Thornton said.
If the system proceeded, the software for this would be
provided and paid for by NZQA and it was expected schools
would use digital devices they already had.
Last year NZQA spent $303,769 on SAC exam assistants for
NCEA, more than double what it spent in 2008.
The recent review of the system by NZQA and the Ministry of
Education said in the long term the agencies needed to
prepare schools for a future in which technology was likely
to solve many of the assessment issues apparent today and
''remove the need for Sac altogether''.
Assistance provided under Sac now can include reader/writers,
extra time, separate accommodation and technology support.