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Handwritten exams unlikely to exist in 10 years, says watchdog chief

Qualifications chief would be 'surprised' if handwritten exams are still around in 2027

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Qualifications chief would be 'surprised' if handwritten exams are still around in 2027

Handwritten exams could disappear within a few years, according to the chief executive of Scotland’s national qualifications body.

When asked if she could envisage handwritten exams still being used in 10 years, Janet Brown told Tes Scotland: “I think that would be very unusual…I would be surprised if we still had handwritten exams.”

Electronic assessment was already used for some courses, said Dr Brown, of the Scottish Qualifications Authority, adding that “society’s going that way”.

However, before an entire education system moved in that direction, she said, “you need to make sure…no one’s disadvantaged” – adding that “the day is not tomorrow that we’ll move away from paper”.

Earlier this year, Tes columnist Nancy Gedge wrote that research showed there were many good reasons to teach handwriting. She said it was “one of those fundamental background skills that provide support for all sorts of other learning”.

Education systems around the world have taken different stances on cursive, or joined-up, handwriting.

In 2015, it was widely reported that Finnish schools were phasing it out in favour of keyboard skills, although the Finnish government said that the issue was not quite so clear-cut.

This year, an education bill in the US state of Indiana sought to make cursive writing a requirement in elementary (primary) schools.

A full interview with Janet Brown will be published in Friday's issue of Tes Scotland.

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