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UK: In 10 years all exams to be done on computers. - December 17th 2009, 08:37 AM

So I was reading through the paper this morning and I found this article:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle6959746.ece

I completely disagree with it!
I think that writing is a very valuble skill that we can't afford to use, often it is easier to write stuff then it is to do it on a computer, for example a shopping list...tell me you can write it on your phone etc but what if your phone breaks?
If exams begin to introduce computers then people will not feel the need to write any more and handwriting will begin to die out.
Also, how can you compare these students exam results with students results who sat the exam 5 years previously? It's not fair, in a two hour writing exam, you are likely to write a lot more if you can type it as when you are handwriting, your hand gets tired. And then when it comes to foreign languages and you have to do accents etc, the people using computers are at a disadvantage as it takes much longer to write accents then it does to just write one on with a pen.
On top of all of that, how expensive is it going to be for schools? I mean most schools have 200-300 people in a year so they would have to fork out a huge amount of money on new technology, also they would have to invite more invigilatores and as the desks would have to be 150cm apart, 100cm more then they already are, bigger exam halls would be needed causing major space issues for schools!

Am I the only one who thinks this way? What are your opinions on the whole thing?
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Re: UK: In 10 years all exams to be done on computers. - December 17th 2009, 09:11 AM

Future Generations need to write!. Writing is a key skill in life and this whole move to have exams done on pc's is a ridiculouse one.
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Re: UK: In 10 years all exams to be done on computers. - December 17th 2009, 09:37 AM

I think right now it's impractical. We all know how computers are liable to crashing and in our school last year somebody put a virus on every computer, what would happen if something like this happened during an exam? Also, sooner or later there's going to be children and adults leaving education without the ability to write, typing they can do, but writing with a pen and paper? Nope.
Our school has a mixture of laptops and computers, it's very impractical to have the computer rooms spaced out so much as there just isn't enough space. Think of where else the money could go instead of wasting it on something that most likely won't work and will not prove beneficial upon the students or invigilators.
Perhaps sometime in the very distant future it will happen, but I doubt it right now.
   
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Re: UK: In 10 years all exams to be done on computers. - December 17th 2009, 11:50 AM

Right now I think the use of Scantrons is enough but using computers for each student to do exams I think is a recipe for disaster and for smashing the university's or college's budget. For it to be successful, it'd need its own room and maybe its own server so it doesn't affect the servers for the rest of the university or college. All that is going to take a lot of money, which to me is simply spending money on unnecessary things. What happens though for schools that cant afford the computers or if it cuts into their budget too much? I think it's unnecessary.

Also, I can only imagine the unfairness when during the exam, a computer crashes and the data is now gone and the student is screwed. One can make the argument that you have to save and re-save over and over but if it crashes, then you're going to need to take time to have the computer restart, re-login, etc..., while everyone else is fine. Furthermore, it'd be disturbing for the students because you hear the "click, click, click, click" of hundreds of computers and that can be very distracting. Lastly, what about for things such as mathematics, physics, foreign languages, etc... . Inserting all the symbols, making sure the formulas are written properly, putting in the proper accents or crylic alphabet, I think that's all going to be a problem. But especially for foreign languages, if you are to simply type on a computer, then you don't get tested on your ability to write normally in the language.

I don't see a problem when it comes to handwriting the answers. I'm fine doing Scantrons for multiple choice questions but in all honesty, I'd rather handwrite my answers. In fact, I see handwriting the answers as having a problem of a throbbing hand and not enough pens/pencils/lead refills. Those are all problems which are very easy to fix and don't need such expense and are less damaging to the students writing the exams.

I think instead of spending money on something so unnecessary, spend it on something else, such as research or improving other areas.
   
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Re: UK: In 10 years all exams to be done on computers. - December 17th 2009, 12:32 PM

I think it's a stupid for many reasons.

Money is going to be an issue, you'll have to have enough computers for every student to be taking the exam, as well as making rooms specially designed for the exams so that there is something between each student to stop them copying from each other on the exam. Then you have to think about if there is a problem with one of the computers, that's one student who can't take an exam or even worse, if all the computers are down, that's the whole school who won't be taking the exam which just delays it and could add more stress to the students taking them. I also agree with the writing thing as well and you've got the fact that some people are probably better at typing on computers then others are, which could mean some will do it in an hour and others in two hours which means some won't even get a chance to finish the exam due to not being able to type as quickly or something silly.

I think it's better to just stick to doing it on paper in pen. It means that there is less chance of disaster striking, everyone has a fair chance and it won't cost as much money to do it. But having said that, it does say in 10 years time and by then, things could be a lot more advance.
   
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Re: UK: In 10 years all exams to be done on computers. - December 17th 2009, 03:36 PM

It's definitively the way forward (come on, which jobs consist of a lot of writing?) but impractical, because schools simply don't have enough computers. Otherwise I can't see any problem with it (clicking keys annoying you? You haven't taken an exam in my school! ). Actually I have done an exam on a computer before, and it's not a big deal - went much smoother than a normal exam, apart from the long waiting times...
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Re: UK: In 10 years all exams to be done on computers. - December 17th 2009, 04:05 PM

My school barely has money for paper..

I don't think I'd like that very much.. people already have bad enough handwriting. Image the state of it if they pretty much never wrote?
   
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Re: UK: In 10 years all exams to be done on computers. - December 17th 2009, 05:33 PM

some people write faster then they can type.


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Re: UK: In 10 years all exams to be done on computers. - December 17th 2009, 05:43 PM

I agree that it'll be expensive etc, but I think it's a step in the right direction.
You have to face it: computers are faster and more efficient.
I am slow at writing, but lightning-fast at typing. I aced my exams that I did on the computer.
So it actually helps lots of people.
   
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Re: UK: In 10 years all exams to be done on computers. - December 17th 2009, 05:45 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie View Post
I think it's a stupid for many reasons.

Money is going to be an issue, you'll have to have enough computers for every student to be taking the exam, as well as making rooms specially designed for the exams so that there is something between each student to stop them copying from each other on the exam. Then you have to think about if there is a problem with one of the computers, that's one student who can't take an exam or even worse, if all the computers are down, that's the whole school who won't be taking the exam which just delays it and could add more stress to the students taking them. I also agree with the writing thing as well and you've got the fact that some people are probably better at typing on computers then others are, which could mean some will do it in an hour and others in two hours which means some won't even get a chance to finish the exam due to not being able to type as quickly or something silly.

I think it's better to just stick to doing it on paper in pen. It means that there is less chance of disaster striking, everyone has a fair chance and it won't cost as much money to do it. But having said that, it does say in 10 years time and by then, things could be a lot more advance.
A really bad point i noticed in that. You say it's unfair because people type at different speeds. I pose this to you: people also write at different speeds.
   
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Re: UK: In 10 years all exams to be done on computers. - December 17th 2009, 05:56 PM

I've done a couple of exams on the computer but I really really wouldn't want to do ALL my exams one. It'd be expensive for the school. Slow typers would possibly run out of time and I'd say that typing takes more time than writing, but that's just my opinion. The whole computer could crash whereas if the exams on paper that wouldn't happen. Exams are over an hour long sometimes, what about eye strain? And computers cause some people headaches after so long.


   
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Re: UK: In 10 years all exams to be done on computers. - December 17th 2009, 06:08 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ares View Post
some people write faster then they can type.
Yes, and some type faster. If I typed my english essays I'd write far better material thanks to the backspace key

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth Cara
Slow typers would possibly run out of time and I'd say that typing takes more time than writing, but that's just my opinion. The whole computer could crash whereas if the exams on paper that wouldn't happen. Exams are over an hour long sometimes, what about eye strain? And computers cause some people headaches after so long.
People who type slowly are people who don't type much, so that's not really valid in a computer-only school. Computers should only crash if there's a power cut, and anyway repeats happen anyway for far more mundane reasons. The last two happen anyway (at least in my school ) so not really computer-related.
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Re: UK: In 10 years all exams to be done on computers. - December 17th 2009, 08:03 PM

Hand writting however does not crash or just refuse to work, and then it is not fair because if you loose all/part of the exam there's nothing you can do, even if it was not your fault.
   
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Re: UK: In 10 years all exams to be done on computers. - December 17th 2009, 08:09 PM

At university level, I think you should get a choice whether to type or write. Becuase as much as I hate writing by hand, I think I make more productive essays, as I understand my grammar, spelling and formatting isn't going to be prefect. I think on computers, I'd get far too caught up, just because you have the ability to edit. I think at younger ages, ESPECIALLY secondary school (being compulsory and all), you should write, because I, as mentionned by others, believe that we don't handwrite enough anymore, and its something we do need. We have plenty of work done on computers, so you can still go on to jobs that are computer based, but you need to ability to take notes by hand and stuff. I think it's a skill that shouldnt be lost. We should not be completely reliant on computers.
   
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Re: UK: In 10 years all exams to be done on computers. - December 17th 2009, 08:22 PM

Hahaha...I love people getting defensive because they don't want to utilize technology. It is essentially the same, the only problem I see is that using a computer a lot for typing and whatnot could strain your eyes and give you carpal tunnel if you don't type correctly. But the same could be said for writing.

If the kinks could be worked out, there are some exams where it makes sense for the schools to use computers.


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Re: UK: In 10 years all exams to be done on computers. - December 17th 2009, 09:02 PM

I'm a little skeptical. I love writing by hand so i guess i'm bias. I think that everything is becoming so 'computerised' - pretty soon we will just give up actually LIVING life for the sake of being glued to our screens. It's ridiculous and an awful lot of money to spend on this technology - whereas paper can be recycled more efficiently and is effectively cheaper than forking out for state of the art equipment.


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Re: UK: In 10 years all exams to be done on computers. - December 17th 2009, 10:38 PM

Well, people do say that exams are getting easier, I'm sure this relates somehow.

And I highly doubt it will all be computer in 10 years, it'll be significantly longer tbh. And anyway, if exams did switch too computers then the government would HAVE to allow schools to have a budget for one year significantly larger than normal so they can afford this.

I think this is extremely stupid, computers aren't reliable compared to a pen and paper, and what OS would they use? Windows would just fail tbh.
And pretty soon people will loose the ability to write, then express words verbally, and then who knows what? It's stupid =/
   
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Re: UK: In 10 years all exams to be done on computers. - December 18th 2009, 04:07 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie View Post

Money is going to be an issue, you'll have to have enough computers for every student to be taking the exam, as well as making rooms specially designed for the exams so that there is something between each student to stop them copying from each other on the exam. Then you have to think about if there is a problem with one of the computers, that's one student who can't take an exam or even worse, if all the computers are down, that's the whole school who won't be taking the exam which just delays it and could add more stress to the students taking them.
I agree with all of these points here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie View Post
I also agree with the writing thing as well and you've got the fact that some people are probably better at typing on computers then others are, which could mean some will do it in an hour and others in two hours which means some won't even get a chance to finish the exam due to not being able to type as quickly or something silly.
This is a horrible argument especially because it defeats your own view of how pen and paper is better. Yes some people can type faster but so what? This is a moot point. This argument destroys your argument because, just like typing, not all people write at the same speed. So if you're going to stick to this argument, then it works both ways and you're now also arguing against your own side. I suppose that for a test, such as a math test, you'd say it's unfair that someone can figure out the answer faster than the next person.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Double X
Hahaha...I love people getting defensive because they don't want to utilize technology.
*Looks around*, let's see, there's health care, computers, internet, cell phones, MP3/iPods, printers, etc... . Yep, people really aren't using technology.

In regards to this issue, it's not that people don't want to use it for no reason, it's because it's going to lead to unnecessary financial strains that universities really cannot afford, especially with limited budgets. It's not going to improve one's test-taking abilities in any significant way and so it'd be a large amount of money to spend that does nothing beneficial from what we already have of pen and paper.
   
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Re: UK: In 10 years all exams to be done on computers. - December 18th 2009, 04:44 AM

*raises hand* Its actually about using computers for GCSE exams according to the article. These are the exams you mostly take at 15, before leaving secondary school. These schools have less money then universities, which often get extra funds from business and alumni.
   
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Re: UK: In 10 years all exams to be done on computers. - December 18th 2009, 06:29 AM

All else being equal, I don't necessarily see this being bad in some subjects. Yes, handwriting still has its places, but writing essays by hand? That's pretty much a dead skill. Pretty much anything that can reasonably be done on a computer, if it's to be done in any kind of presentation quality, is going to be done on a computer. The average student probably types faster and more confidently than they write. And some subjects just should be written on a computer. I'll be writing my programming exam next Tuesday - by hand - and I think it's completely silly.

That said, all else is not equal. Subjects like math and physics are really better done on paper; or at least on a tablet. Keyboards and graphing software make nicer finished work but take much longer for all but the most experienced users. And as others have pointed out, the cost would not be small and education is already badly underfunded. So I think it's a nice ideal, and we might get there someday, but it won't and shouldn't be soon. There are many more important issues to be tended to first.


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Re: UK: In 10 years all exams to be done on computers. - December 18th 2009, 05:43 PM

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That said, all else is not equal. Subjects like math and physics are really better done on paper; or at least on a tablet. Keyboards and graphing software make nicer finished work but take much longer for all but the most experienced users.
Good point, I really can't imagine maths being done on a PC

With regards to PC's crashing, this practically never happens to a properly maintained PC and anyway the way exams would work is that it's all organised on a centralised server, so even if something bad does happen on your end your work is safe with the education authority.
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Re: UK: In 10 years all exams to be done on computers. - December 18th 2009, 07:30 PM

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Good point, I really can't imagine maths being done on a PC

With regards to PC's crashing, this practically never happens to a properly maintained PC and anyway the way exams would work is that it's all organised on a centralised server, so even if something bad does happen on your end your work is safe with the education authority.
It could be done for math/physics etc, but it really needs good desktop-based tablet software. Basically, handwriting on digital paper. And that's still pricey for a well-off homeowner these days, so having it en masse in schools just isn't happening. Once the cost is manageable, I actually think a station like that would be an ideal all-purpose testing method. A self-contained network definitely not hooked up to the internet, and each computer having a keyboard and a large tablet. That lets the writers write, the typers type, the art students art (within limitations, obviously), the engineering students design, the math students scribble down formulae, and so on. If only we could get around that money thing, eh?


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Re: UK: In 10 years all exams to be done on computers. - December 19th 2009, 04:48 AM

I think this is a good idea, if done right. I hate writing out long essays by hand, and end up with a fatigued aching arm at the end of all my exams (which is becuase I hold my pen badly, I know) I find typing more efficient and egronomic. It would be annoying and slow to have to do maths, physics and chemistry on a keyboard though, so a tablet would be almost essential.

Some people said that some people type faster than others, but some people can write faster than others too. The left-handed people I know write slowly, and feel disadvantaged in exams, typing on a keyboard might reduce this disparity, and obviously, if you are taking exams on a computer, you are going to practice for them on a computer too, so you'd get better at typing, just as you would at handwriting.

As for information being lost, that happens to paper exams too. Last year I took 5 biology papers, I only got 4 back, one went missing and has not been found.

It's just that annoying little money issue!!

Also, it would be easier for the markers to mark typed passages. Some people's handwriting is very messy, especially when rushed in an exam setting.


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Re: UK: In 10 years all exams to be done on computers. - December 19th 2009, 09:18 AM

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A self-contained network definitely not hooked up to the internet, and each computer having a keyboard and a large tablet. That lets the writers write, the typers type, the art students art (within limitations, obviously), the engineering students design, the math students scribble down formulae, and so on. If only we could get around that money thing, eh?
No, I'm still for a server-based system using say PGP encryption. It keeps the data safe from power cuts on an off-campus server and is less expensive as each school doesn't need their own server.
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Re: UK: In 10 years all exams to be done on computers. - December 19th 2009, 11:02 PM

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No, I'm still for a server-based system using say PGP encryption. It keeps the data safe from power cuts on an off-campus server and is less expensive as each school doesn't need their own server.
I'm very poorly versed when it comes to encryption/hacking/etc, so I suppose I should just have said "sufficient safety to make tampering at least as difficult as tampering with results now" and left it at that. ^^; I can well believe that my guess would be over-compensating in that regard.


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