Schools planning to offer digital exams this year can get their technical readiness assessed through a new programme led by Network for Learning (N4L) in partnership with NZQA (New Zealand Qualifications Authority).
Beginning this week, N4L, the Crown company tasked with managing schools’ internet services, will offer a technical assessment to more than 220 schools that have signalled their interest to NZQA in offering students the opportunity to sit at least one exam digitally in 2019.
With the help of the school’s local IT support company, N4L will go through a checklist of the internet equipment available in the school’s exam rooms and assess the performance of its wireless internet infrastructure. The review will help the school determine if there are any wireless connection ‘dead spots’, and ensure the room’s connectivity can cope with the number of students projected to be simultaneously sitting one exam. Video streaming and internet speed test results will also be assessed.
Schools will be presented the results of the technical assessments in advance of the exam period. N4L CEO Larrie Moore says it’s about helping schools ensure they are set up to offer the best online exam experience.
“We are pleased to be working with NZQA to help prepare schools for what is likely to be their first digital exam,” says Mr Moore. “Schools need their internet to work seamlessly within every exam room so students can fully focus on their exam questions while having a positive online experience.”
Andrea Gray, NZQA’s Digital Assessment Transformation Deputy Chief Executive, said the N4L work is part of a package of supports NZQA is providing to schools to help them get ready for digital exams.
“We’re delighted schools are showing strong interest in digital exams and our focus is on helping them feel confident it will be a good experience for students,” says Ms Gray.
N4L will also assist NZQA’s exam support team throughout the exam period by providing technical helpdesk and engineering support where required. The N4L team will help triage any exam room connectivity issues with the school’s technical support staff.
More than 220 schools have signalled their interest in offering students the opportunity to sit at least one exam digitally this year. This year students can sit 14 NCEA subjects across three levels using a laptop or computer rather than pen and paper.
Currently schools are responsible for ensuring their classroom wireless internet connections run smoothly throughout the school and rely on a combination of in-house skills, outsourced IT support, and online resources to guide them.
About The Network for Learning (N4L)
N4L is a Crown company supporting government’s goals for education through its ‘Managed Network’ services, which connect 99.7% of New Zealand schools including kura to safe, fast, reliable internet services that are fully funded and supported for schools. The company was named New Zealand’s 2018 Broadband Provider of the Year and works alongside education, government, and technology partners to help schools get the most from digital connectivity.
Moving from connecting schools to connecting classrooms has been signalled in N4L’s four-year strategy and the work N4L is doing to help NZQA prepare schools for digital exams is part of this. Working with the Ministry of Education, N4L is exploring options to extend its Managed Network services beyond the school communications cabinet and into individual classrooms, shifting the point of connection closer to the learner. www.n4l.co.nz
- To find out what schools are doing to get ready go to: https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/ncea/ncea-exams-and-portfolios/external/getting-ready-for-digital-exams/
- To find out what a digital exam will be like go to: https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/ncea/ncea/
- For more information on NCEA Online go to: https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/about-us/future-state/digital-assessment-ncea-online/