Britain moved a step closer to such an on-line system with the announcement that an exam board and a US computer firm hope to set up Britain's first computerised service.
The firm, Nation Computer Systems Inc, currently transmits question papers to US schools electronically where they are printed out. The completed scripts are then scaned back on to the Internet and marked on-screen.
The Oxford and Cambridge exam board has reached a preliminary agreement with the company, which is already working on the electronic skills tests for trainee teachers being run by the Teacher Training Agency.
The board plans to transfer its entire exam administration de-partment to the new company - Oxford Cambridge and RSA Education Services Limited.
OCR will remain the accredited awarding body, with responsibility for syllabus development and awarding grades.