Easier on screen

23rd February 2007 at 00:00
I read with interest Stephen Manning's article "A for effort" (TES magazine, February 9), and I agree with Professor Dylan Wiliam that computer-based assessment will help pupils and teachers.

The article refers to software such as Criterion as "new technology", which is true when compared with paper-and-pencil testing and marking. But such technology has been around for years, although it has been overlooked in education.

An expert teacher will always be better placed than a computer to judge creative work, but with many skills e-assessment is proven to give consistent assessment. It means resources are not wasted in moving paper around, and teachers do not waste time taking work away to mark it. More secure and accurate summative exams can be devised on computer and more contact time can be spent teaching, not marking.

This approach is already a success in the professional arena, and it would be great if schools could benefit in the same way. I agree that in 10 years' time this will be the norm, but mature technology already exists for this to happen far sooner if the education sector wakes up to its benefits.

Geoff Chapman Head of communications, Thomson Prometric, Manchester

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