A site better than before

20th April 2007 at 01:00
Welsh exam board hopes to make the grade with its new internet offering

IT HAS been a source of great frustration and complaints for time-strapped examinations officers and teachers trying to access vital information.

But after an overhaul, the new-look website of the Welsh exam board the WJEC is hoping to win over its past critics who simply gave up trying to find what they were looking for.

The new site is due to be up and running on May 1 after some final tweaks.

Ceri Thomas, the WJEC's communications officer and one of a special team developing the new user-friendly system, admitted easier navigation was long overdue.

She said: "We want the new website to clarify information for teachers and make their lives easier. A huge amount of information on the original site was often missed by people not knowing where to look."

More search engines have been included to make the site more functional, and it has special new sections to interest both parents and pupils.

Users outside the teaching community can click for advice on issues such as appealing against exam marks, what to do if they are ill on exam day, being late for an exam, and other guidance. Quick links direct people to areas of the site that will be most useful to them. Updated news and any curriculum changes will also be monitored more frequently.

Subject searches on the website's search engine always provide a link to the WJEC shop and relevant resources that may be needed by a teacher. Links are also provided to professional development courses to give teachers as comprehensive a web service as possible.

Paul Davies, ICT communications manager at the WJEC, said the new website fulfilled the criteria of being easy to navigate and accessible to more users.

"There should be no reason now for this site not to be constantly evolving," he said.

Each of the WJEC's 41 subject officers can also now add to his or her own sections to ensure information does not go out of date. Mr Davies said:

"The content management aspect allows us to give staff control over their section of the site."

The organisation's resources and statistics unit is keen to add data to the site, which also gives an overview of the WJEC's history, functions, links to sister organisations such as NGfL Cymru - which provides online curriculum resources for teachers - and information about those in charge of the exam board.

Mrs Thomas said: "People can see exactly what we do. It makes us more open and transparent than we have been before."

The WJEC's subject officers provided feedback from teachers and schools'

exams officers about what they wanted on the website during a consultation period.

* www.wjec.co.uk

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