All NCEA exams could be online by 2020

Taieri College pupils sit a practice exam in preparation for NCEA. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Taieri College pupils sit a practice exam in preparation for NCEA. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Support for digital examinations is so high among New Zealand teens that all NCEA examinations could be online by 2020, a New Zealand Qualifications Authority report shows.

The 2017 Digital Trials and Pilots Evaluation report, released this week, showed nearly 100% of pupils who responded to a survey about taking part in the pilot preferred doing an online examination rather than a written examination.

NZQA digital assessment transformation deputy chief executive Andrea Gray said pupils were using digital devices in everyday life, so it was not surprising many preferred online examinations.

"For students, markers and schools, it makes sense to have exams available digitally.

"The findings are positive, marking is easier, and students find going online easier."

She said NZQA was now working towards having all NCEA examinations available online by 2020.

Between the 2016 and 2017 NCEA trials and pilots report, there had been a significant improvement in satisfaction levels in the delivery and marking of online examinations.

In 2016, 71% of markers who responded to a post-pilot survey were satisfied with their experience, but by 2017 that had increased to 94%, she said.

"As well as the number of students and markers saying they preferred online examinations, the number of schools signing up to take part in the trials and pilots has also significantly increased."

In 2017, 6199 pupils from 97 schools participated in at least one of the digital trial examinations, while 4226 pupils from 54 schools participated in at least one of the digital pilot examinations.

"This is up from 60 schools that participated in at least one of the digital trial examinations and 46 schools that took part in at least one digital pilot in 2016."

Digital trials are designed for schools to use as practice assessments and are marked by teachers. Results do not count towards NCEA.

Digital pilots are designed to be used in place of paper-based end of year external examinations.

Last Friday, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced the Government was investing $8million in the NCEA online project.

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