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Pilot trial moves online examinations a step closer

The NZQA is partnering with Education Perfect to trial e-MCAT, an online version of the paper-based NCEA Level 1 mathematics MCAT assessment.

The pilot trial will begin in September this year, with students from 15-20 schools getting the first glimpse of what the future may look like for online examinations.

Education Perfect is the creator of  Language Perfect, a language learning software for secondary schools, which is used by many New Zealand schools.

The trial is one of many initiatives that the NZQA  has underway in their move towards being online, on demand, anywhere and anytime. These include the returning of some exam scripts digitally in February 2014, the investigation of software for special assessment conditions with the possibility of trials in the 2014 examinations of Level 1 English, Economics and Maths, and the use of apps for accessing NZQA information.

Speaking at the Secondary Principals' Association of New Zealand (SPANZ) Symposium on 1 April 2014, Chief Executive of the NZQA Karen Poutasi outlined how the moves towards digital assessment are shaping up.

“The biggest challenge with the move towards digital assessment lies in the underlying principle that what occurs in assessment should reflect what is happening in the classroom. We acknowledge that many schools have already begun the journey towards a digital school but we also have to acknowledge that many other schools are at the beginning of this journey.

“To that end NZQA will be offering a dual assessment model similar to that practiced in British Columbia and Israel. Students will be able to sit their examinations on computer or on paper with the same questions being offered in both media. We are confident that we can begin to roll this out in some levels or some subjects for the 2016 examination round.”

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