ASCL welcomes OCR’s launch of first digital GCSE

Tom Middlehurst, Association of School and College Leaders assessment specialist, responds to exam board OCR’s plan for Computer Science GCSE to be fully assessed on screen.
“We welcome this important step in moving from pen-and-paper exams towards the use of digital assessment. This clearly makes perfect sense for Computer Science GCSE but also paves the way for other subjects, giving students the opportunity to type scripts, making it easier for examiners to mark them, and reducing the reliance on the industrial-scale operation and carbon footprint of printing and transporting millions of exam papers.
“We echo OCR’s call for more support to enable all schools and colleges to be able to put in place the digital infrastructure, training and guidance to deliver digital assessment. It is a shame that the full potential of digital technology in education – in learning as well as assessment – is not currently being realised because government investment is so insufficient and piecemeal. Many schools and colleges can barely afford the cost of energy bills let alone the technology they need.
“It is also incredibly difficult to recruit computing teachers. Last year, the government missed its graduate recruitment target in this subject by 70%. This is part of a wider recruitment and retention crisis across teaching. Ministers must improve pay and conditions.”