Last updated: 24.09.13

School exams to move online in future?

Thanks to the rapid advancements made by technology over the past decade, schools all over the UK have benefitted from innovative and flexible methods of learning.

From launching dedicated online platforms to sharing ideas via social media networks, teachers are turning to more creative ways of connecting with pupils and relying less on traditional classroom practices.

And, according to David Hancock, chief executive of the Independent Association of Prep Schools, even major public examinations like A-levels and GCSEs will move to the online sphere in the coming years, the Independent reports.

He said the current system is "not fit for purpose", due to the fact it is costly and marking standards are unreliable, adding that ministers are likely to decide the best way to counteract this is to set up a national assessment authority offering a national standard of examinations.

All papers would be sat and consequently marked on the internet, apart from practical subjects like art and food technology, which would only see the theory elements assessed online.

So what would the advantages of such a system be? Well, it would certainly even out the inconsistencies in marking, as it is a much more unified approach and markers would benefit from easier access to criteria.

It would also mean that schoolchildren are introduced to the digital skills they may need to secure a stable job in future.

This is not the first time the idea of marking exam papers online has been raised, and a recent report published by Ofqual revealed there has been a widespread move from more traditional ways of assessing students' work.

Indeed, some teachers are choosing to mark exams as far away as Australia, showing just how much flexibility the internet can offer educators.

Simon Lebus, group chief executive of Cambridge Assessment, has agreed with Mr Hancock that a slow migration to e-assessment in high stakes exams will get underway in future. "However, we have got to understand that the process will be evolutionary in that different subjects are likely to migrate at different times," he was quoted as saying.