Should computers be allowed in exams?

(Last Updated On: March 5, 2014)

That was the question we asked. While the majority of you aren’t in favour, it’s fair to say opinion is somewhat divided. Here’s what you had to say.

“No. There is too much out there. It’s too easy to get EVERYTHING off the Internet. It would be silly to do this – it would make everything too easy, depending on the subject, of course.”
Craig Kemp, Grant’s Braes School

“Yes. Students will be using them in the real world so we should be preparing our students to be critical users. We use calculators in maths exams don’t we?”
Hamish Hislop, Coastal Taranaki

“No. That would be classed as cheating. Anyway, the students should have studied hard for the exams.”
Chris Braybrook

“I believe that students should have access. Exams are currently just assessing how much students can remember, when in reality it’s not about their memory but how they can apply it. By giving them the ability to investigate and research their ideas, aren’t we giving them the ability to showcase their complete understanding of ideas?”
Sheridan Mackenzie, Wellington Girls’ College

“Not yet. Students still need to be able to prove they can think independently. Perhaps it’s the exams that need to be re-designed?”
Rebecca Ronald, Coromandel Area School

“Yes. But their site usage should be monitored – although what happens in a power cut, etc?”
John Kramer, One Tree Point School

“No. They would cheat and it would depend on how good you were at browsing the Net rather than knowing the information.”
Lisa Tate, Senior College of New Zealand

“I reckon they should be allowed in exams. In real life, we have access to these technologies and realistically, we don’t have to memorise mountains of information in our jobs.”
Ella Tappin, Waikato University

“What is the point of having an exam when all the answers are right there in front of you? I think before they let students bring in computers they should let them have dictionaries or at least blank paper!”
Amber Simpson, Otago Girls’ High School

“Absolutely! Everyone has access to these resources in the ”real world’, so they’re not going to have to remember the information off the top of their heads. It’s about knowing where to go to find the information not about cramming as much information as possible into your head!”
Emma Walsh, Victoria University

“No. People should need to know the answers to questions by themselves. A doctor can’t leave surgery to go check the computer about how to do it, can he?”
Kennedy Wilson, Lynmore Primary

“Yes to computers; no to the Internet. I can type much faster than I can write, which would help me immensely in exams. The Internet not so much, however, as it would just screw up what I thought I’d learnt or knew before in going to the exam. Plus, it would feel like cheating. Unlike some, I have a conscience!”
Katherine Heaphy, Victoria University

“No. It would be easy for some people to cheat.”
Julie Long, Waihi College

“I think that could be a place for computers in some subjects and in some situations. I work with students that struggle with literacy. Spelling and handwriting are two of the biggest problems that they have and being able to use a computer to write their exams could be of great benefit. However, schools would need to ensure that students’ computer and keyboard skills are at an appropriate level that allows them to use the computer in an exam without it becoming a barrier.”
Liz Hansen, Terrace End School

“I don’t think they should they don’t strengthen the memory threads or the recall links in the brain.”
Marion Cameron

Clearly, it’s an interesting debate and one that will undoubtedly come more to the fore in years to come. Thanks to everyone who commented and congratulations to Liz Hansen who won the copy of Passing Exams for Dummies.

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Categories: Article, Issue 22

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