Trauma dangers of hi-tech results

15th August 2008 at 01:00
Exam board fears remote access could be bad for those who do worse than expected

More students than ever before were able to access their A-level results via their mobile phones yesterday - including those who were on holiday overseas.

But Welsh exam board the WJEC said it was sticking to the traditional method, ensuring all candidates learn their fate from "specialist" teachers after going into school.

The board also echoed the concerns of some teachers, who believe it could be detrimental for pupils who underachieve to find out via the internet or by phone.

However, exam boards in England - including Edexcel and OCR - want to expand results technology into areas such as text messaging. For the second year running, GCSE and A-level pupils were able to get their results on the internet. Some pupils could use their mobile phones to log on to a special website on Thursday.

OCR is now trialling a project that sends pupils their results by text message. Seven schools have taken part so far, and if the pilot proves successful all pupils in Wales could have the option in future of receiving some of their results this way.

But a WJEC spokesperson said the presence of a specialist teacher was important for those who do not do as well as expected and need support.

"On GCE and GCSE results days, pupils have access to members of the senior management team and also often subject specialists in their school or college," she said. "They can give them invaluable advice, often including careers guidance."

A spokesperson for AQA, the awarding body, said getting results via the internet was an "interesting concept", but many teachers preferred the traditional arrangements so they could offer support and advice to pupils as needed.

OCR, which wants to increase results services, also said teacher support remained vital.

A spokesperson said: "This service is an additional option to use where appropriate. Results will still be delivered in the usual way, with schools playing a big role in the help they can offer."

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