Exams

OCR to launch first fully-digital GCSE in 2025

On-screen computer science exam would allow for a 'more authentic assessment', but schools can opt out

On-screen computer science exam would allow for a 'more authentic assessment', but schools can opt out

OCR will launch a fully-digital computer science GCSE assessment in 2025

OCR is to launch the first GCSE to be assessed solely on screen in 2025, as the sector starts its move towards digital exams.

The exam board said pupils sitting its GCSE in computer science will be able to sit digital rather than paper-based exams to “allow for more authentic assessment” of their programming skills.

Although schools will still be able to opt for paper-based assessment if they “prefer that approach” or do not have the digital infrastructure in place, OCR said.

Exams regulator Ofqual is currently undertaking a feasibility study alongside the government on “what it would take” to make GCSE and A-level exams “fully digital”.

Research by England’s largest exam board, AQA, last year found teachers’ biggest barrier to digital exams was a lack of infrastructure.

But AQA has already set out a timetable to move some its exams on-screen, with a large-entry subject like English going digital by 2030.

Digital exams ‘closer to real industry’, says OCR

OCR’s announcement follows a pilot of digital mock exams in schools in 2021 and 2022, which found 92 per cent of students preferred typing over hand-written responses, while students performed similarly to those who took live assessments.

The exam board said it would look to digitise GCSEs for other subjects.

Chief executive Jill Duffy added: “Students want to sit their exams in the way that they learn. Digital exams are far closer to real industry and further study experiences.

“Our pilot has shown that digital exams work. Now we have to move at pace to ensure every student can benefit from the opportunities of digital assessment.”

OCR said that in a focus group of around 100 teachers this autumn, eight out of 10 said they felt their school or college would be “ready to deliver” digital assessments within the next two years.

The computing exam changes come after OCR admitted last year’s controversial paper was “more difficult” than usual, although top grades remained higher than pre-Covid levels after boundaries were lowered.

More from this theme

Exams

Ministers mull scrapping Gove’s Russell Group school metric

It follows calls from a House of Lords committee to review destination measures

Samantha Booth
Exams

GCSEs: What ministers said in response to Lords’ reform calls

DfE rejects calls to scrap the EBacc and for wider reform, but sets out some of its thinking on...

Samantha Booth
Exams

Ex-education secretary to chair OCR curriculum and exams review

Exam board boss said they can 'create something better across education and assessment' in secondary schools

Samantha Booth
Exams

DfE brings in minimum teaching hours for GCSE English and maths resits

Teach maths resit students for at least 4 hours a week and English for 3 or face funding reduction,...

Billy Camden
Exams

EBacc to the past: DfE hits brakes on accountability shake-up

Leaders welcome pause on plans to 'incentivise' subject take-up

Freddie Whittaker
Exams

GCSE maths re-sit pass rate lower than pre-pandemic

But performance in English re-takes continues to rise

Freddie Whittaker

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *