Should pupils be allowed to use Google in exams?Posted: 6th of May 2015 by
Leaving aside the whole thorny issue of the cost to schools of supplying every student with a device that has internet access for the purpose of exams, and the obvious problem that occurs when pupils in richer schools have access to this and pupils in poorer schools don’t, does it make sense to allow students to use the internet in exams?
Many people have argued that pupils should be able to use the internet for exam purposes and Chief executive of the OCR exams board, Mr Dawe said last week that “we have tools like Google, why would you exclude those from students’ learning?”, a sentiment echoed by some young people who argue that the way that they learn and the way that they are tested are too dissimilar. You can read the full news article here.
Isn’t this kind of the point though? Testing isn’t learning. So, unless you are actually testing a student’s ability to research, I fail to see the benefit of giving them access to the internet.
We do know some things about using the internet. We know that people are often more easily distracted from the task that they are trying to accomplish. How many times have you gone online to order something and ended up looking at all sorts of other things? I suppose schools could limit the sites that students were able to access, but again – I’m just back to, are you testing what they’ve learned or what they can find? Do they need to go to school at all? Or just to learn how to use the internet?
My other issue with this idea is this – school children using the internet has increased the instances of plagiarism as they fail to understand the rules of using the information on web sites. Presumably where sources are provided in exam booklets (another good reason, I say, for not ‘needing’ the internet) permissions have been given by the authors for that information to be repeated by the candidate.
All in all, allowing students to use the internet in exams either doesn’t make sense or it’s a bad idea. For some hints and tips on preparing for exams read our article, ‘keep going, you’re almost at the exam finish line’
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