Rise in pupils opting to sit digital exams

Sitting NCEA exams online rather than using pen and paper is gaining popularity among Otago and Southland pupils. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Sitting NCEA exams online rather than using pen and paper is gaining popularity among Otago and Southland pupils. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
The days of sitting exams with pen and paper may be numbered.

Statistics from the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) show the number of Otago and Southland pupils entered to sit NCEA digital pilot examinations this year has nearly doubled, from 661 last year to 1013.

NZQA digital assessment transformation deputy chief executive Andrea Gray said the candidates, from six schools around the region, were among about 8000 pupils from 53 schools across the country participating this year.

The number is up from the 5130 pupils who participated last year.

She said digital pilot examinations were available at NCEA levels 1-3 in English, media studies and classical studies.

Pupils could sit them instead of the equivalent paper-based examination, and the marks counted towards a pupil's final NCEA result.

Since 2014, almost 75% of New Zealand secondary schools and about 30,000 pupils had experienced at least one digital examination, and the feedback from pupils and schools was very positive, she said.

''NZQA aims to have NCEA examinations available online for 14 subjects at different levels in 2019.

''The range of subjects will be further expanded in 2020 and beyond.''

A report on the 2017 digital examinations showed support for them was so high among New Zealand teens that NZQA believed all NCEA examinations could be online by 2020.

Earlier this year, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced the Government was investing $8million in the NCEA online project.

About 146,000 pupils are now preparing for the 2018 end-of-year NCEA and New Zealand scholarship examinations, which begin on November 7 with NCEA level 1 social studies, NCEA level 2 dance, NCEA level 3 art history, and scholarship Earth and space science.

The exam season concludes on November 30.

Exams will be marked by more than 1670 markers and results will be released online in mid-January 2019.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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