The wood for the trees

This cannot go on. Our school exams are running the risk of becoming invalid as their medium of pen and ink increasingly differs from the way in which youngsters learn.

Earlier this week The Independent published extracts from an interview with Isabel Nisbet, chief executive of the UK’s exams watchdog Ofqual, in which she argued that exam preparation would “become a separate thing to learning” for our “more digitally aware pupils”.

Predictably, the comment thread on that article immediately sunk to the lowest common intellectual denominator as, sadly, most teachers -all of whom were using a computer to write their comments on a website- rallied in defence of pen, paper and the academic rigour that they apparently bestow.

When erasers were first attached to the end of pencils teachers believed they would encourage laziness and were often banned in schools. We see the same process happening today when disruptive technologies show up, often uninvited, in our classrooms, and for the same reasons by and large.

Whether or not I think schools, teachers or pupils are ready for online examinations just yet is neither here nor there, but I do welcome Nisbet’s comments as an admission that all is not well and therefore as a step in the right direction.

What do you think?

Your feedback and comments are very welcome