The covid-19 pandemic hit South African schools with a blow. One of the biggest obstacles was ensuring that matrics were able to finish their final exams while staying safe. With all this in mind, it might be time for Digital Matric Exams to get some thought.
Is it Time for Matric Exams to go Digital?
Global schooling trends already indicate that countries across the world are moving towards more remote methods of teaching. Some of which include:
Digital Matric Exams will ensure the safety of students and will curb any challenges that may occur. With health concerns and other factors ,it may be time for matric exams to go digital.
The Benefits of Online Exams
For most people online exams may seem a little out of the ordinary. There are concerns about cheating, the integrity of the exams and how accessible it is to all students.
But, if you dive into the world of online tests, you will find that they can actually help the overall success of students. Listed below are some of their benefits:
- Prepares Learners for Work
- Saves Time and Money
- Could Curb Cheating
- Remote Supervision
- Saves Paper
- Can be Done at Home
- Enables “Open Book” Exams
- Takes up Less Storage Space
Prepares Learners for Work
Online exams will give learners the chance to get a grip of basic computer skills. This will prepare them for further education and work.
This may come as a surprise, but online exams are very secure. Learners can only access their papers once they have logged in and used a special password.
Saves Time and Money
Schools will be able to cut out the costs of paper, printing and hiring invigilators to assist during exams. It will also be a massive time saver as everything will be done online.
Could Curb Cheating
There are programmes available that can pick up when learners are behaving strangely and allow you to zoom in on them. So supervision is still possible, but it can be done remotely.
Online exams are a much more eco-friendly approach to performing tests. Not only does it save money but it also contributes to our environment.
Can be Done at Home
Learners can write exams from their homes. This avoids them interacting with large groups and travelling to exam venues which could expose them to Covid-19.
This mode of assessment is more inclusive of students with physical disabilities, learning barriers and mental health issues.
Enables ‘Open Book’ Exams
Open Book exams may sound easier. But they require students to use their critical thinking skills and apply their knowledge. These are all skills that are required beyond high school.
Takes up Less Storage Space
Instead of keeping paper records of students’ results, everything can be stored on a single server.
The South African Context: Are Digital Matric Exams Realistic?
A recent study on online and distance learning conducted by SACAI, showed that South Africa is far behind global trends in remote learning.
In a country where many people don’t have access to basic needs, is it really realistic to expect a digital takeover in education?
The South African context is an unique one. Listed below are some of the common challenges that may prevent digital matric exams from becoming a reality:
Lack of Computer Skills
Unfortunately, many students and learners do not have a basic understanding of computers. This will make it very difficult to implement online exams.
Online exams could lead to further exclusion as many students simply do not have the resources and funds to access digital devices.
Access to the Internet
The Department of Basic Education has promised a roll out of internet access to all schools. But, this has yet to be delivered.
South Africa has some of the highest data costs. Most people simply cannot afford to keep up with monthly data expenses.
Power cuts are something that must be considered when discussing online exams. This could set students back for hours and interfere with the integrity of exams.
The Future is Digital
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