A recent conversation with a colleague, who genuinely believes that students are more creative when they write with a pen, really made me wonder about the future of pen & paper examinations in NSW and the rest of the world.
As you likely know, the students sitting the Higher School Certificate examinations in 2012 were issued with Lenovo laptops as part of the Digital Education Revolution when they were in Year 9, back in 2009. It is likely that many, if not most, do not use a pen and paper in their personal lives, preferring computer or mobile device, so teachers will be trying to prepare them for a skill that increasing looks like candle-making. As one colleague remarked, you wouldn’t ask someone to use a Penny-farthing for the ride that is to be their life. My favourite quip relates to scrolls and many of you may remember this amusing video.
The Essential Secondary Science Assessment (ESSA) for Year 8 students in NSW is now online and the School Certificate Computing Skills Test has been for online a number of years. There are other trials taking place, including teachers marking HSC exams at home online. You may wish to listen to Isabel Nisbet‘s recent call for an end to pen & paper usage in written exams in the UK.
I feel passionately that we not just need to make the exams paperless but need to completely reassess how we assess and report achievement. Does anyone have any updated information on this project with Barry McGaw that was reported two years ago to be overhauling ideas on measuring skills?
*Your thoughts on how we might make the changes that seem so logical, urgent and neccessary, sensibly, would be appreciated?
But, before you do, perhaps the time is rife for revisiting Michael Wesch‘s most famous video:
Images sourced here.