Online GCSE exams: ‘Guarantees required that the tech won’t let down our students’ | Arholiadau TGAU ar-lein: ‘Gwarantau’n mynnu nad yw technoleg yn siomi ein myfyrwyr’

Regulatory body Qualifications Wales is consulting on the future of GCSE examinations, and its new chairman, David Jones, has suggested that students in Wales could see greater use of electronic assessment in the new curriculum. This could include sitting exams online.

Suzy Davies AM/AC – the Shadow Education Minister – said:

“While I am not necessarily opposed to this suggestion – lives, especially those of younger and school-age people are increasingly ‘online’, and much learning is already done digitally – I would need to see a great deal more detail before endorsing it.”

However, she cautioned that her hesitance is not necessarily about security or steps to prevent cheating, and she continued:

As I understand it, the examinations would still take place within a school setting, not at home or remotely, and a software security system known as ‘sandboxing’ should prevent students being able to access the internet during exams.

“What does concern me is how many students could actually sit an exam at one time. With the exception of ICT classes, no class has one computer per pupil, let alone for an entire year or subject group to be examined simultaneously.

“Also, going digital can present its own problems. Last May, the WJEC exam board had to apologise after what was termed a ‘technical issue’ affected students taking a GCSE computer science exam.

“Examinations are a stressful enough time anyway, but delays to start times – and this reportedly affected students in a number of counties in Wales – could put even the most adept and well-prepared young people off their stride. Guarantees would need to be given that this situation would not happen again.

“And while I am happy to have seen the end of desks with ink wells in them, with this increasing digitisation of life and studying – not to forget working – we could be at risk of witnessing the last generation of students in Wales who can use a pen and paper to write, and writing still has its place amid the raft of forms of communication.

“This suggestion requires more consultation and greater detail before I can give it an A*.”

 

Mae cymwysterau corff rheoleiddio Cymru yn ymgynghori ar ddyfodol arholiadau TGAU, ac mae ei gadeirydd newydd, David Jones, wedi awgrymu y gallai myfyrwyr yng Nghymru weld mwy o ddefnydd o asesu electronig yn y cwricwlwm newydd. Gallai hyn gynnwys sefyll arholiadau ar-lein.

Dywedodd Suzy Davies AC - y Gweinidog Addysg Gysgodol:

“Er nad wyf o reidrwydd yn gwrthwynebu’r awgrym hwn - mae bywydau, yn enwedig bywydau pobl iau ac oedran ysgol yn fwyfwy‘ ar-lein ’, ac mae llawer o ddysgu eisoes yn cael ei wneud yn ddigidol - byddai angen i mi weld llawer mwy o fanylion cyn ei gymeradwyo. ”

Fodd bynnag, rhybuddiodd nad yw ei phetrusrwydd o reidrwydd yn ymwneud â diogelwch na chamau i atal twyllo, a pharhaodd:

“Yn ôl a ddeallaf, byddai’r arholiadau’n dal i gael eu cynnal mewn lleoliad ysgol, nid gartref nac o bell, a dylai system ddiogelwch meddalwedd o’r enw‘ sandboxing ’atal myfyrwyr rhag gallu cyrchu’r rhyngrwyd yn ystod arholiadau.

“Yr hyn sy’n peri pryder imi yw faint o fyfyrwyr a allai sefyll arholiad ar yr un pryd. Ac eithrio dosbarthiadau TGCh, nid oes gan unrhyw ddosbarth un cyfrifiadur i bob disgybl, heb sôn am archwilio blwyddyn gyfan neu grŵp pwnc ar yr un pryd.

“Hefyd, gall mynd yn ddigidol gyflwyno ei broblemau ei hun. Fis Mai diwethaf, bu’n rhaid i fwrdd arholi WJEC ymddiheuro ar ôl i’r hyn a oedd yn cael ei alw’n ‘fater technegol’ effeithio ar fyfyrwyr sy’n sefyll arholiad gwyddoniaeth gyfrifiadurol TGAU.

“Mae arholiadau yn amser digon ingol beth bynnag, ond gallai oedi i amseroedd cychwyn - ac fe adroddodd hyn effeithio ar fyfyrwyr mewn nifer o siroedd yng Nghymru - roi hyd yn oed y bobl ifanc fwyaf medrus a pharatoi'n dda oddi ar eu cam. Byddai angen rhoi gwarantau na fyddai'r sefyllfa hon yn digwydd eto.

“Ac er fy mod yn hapus fy mod wedi gweld diwedd desgiau gyda ffynhonnau inc ynddynt, gyda’r digideiddio cynyddol hwn mewn bywyd ac astudio - i beidio ag anghofio gweithio - gallem fod mewn perygl o fod yn dyst i’r genhedlaeth ddiwethaf o fyfyrwyr yng Nghymru a all ddefnyddio beiro a phapur i'w ysgrifennu, ac mae gan ysgrifennu ei le o hyd ynghanol y llu o ffurfiau cyfathrebu.

“Mae'r awgrym hwn yn gofyn am fwy o ymgynghori a mwy o fanylion cyn y gallaf roi A * iddo.”