Evaluation of students’ and teachers’ experiences of remote on-screen GCSE English assessment

By Katy Finch, Victoria Armstrong


This report focuses on a study that was carried out in collaboration with Doublestruck, an EdTech company that forms part of the AQA family. AQA’s research team was asked to provide an evaluation of an on-screen GCSE English assessment pilot, delivered remotely via Doublestruck’s online platform Exampro between January and March 2021.

The aim of the trial was to explore the experiences of Key Stage 4 students taking an on-screen paper and their teachers’ experiences of marking it. Our findings suggest that, although student experiences have been varied during the Covid-19 pandemic, the impact of school closures has undoubtedly influenced students’ perceptions of on-screen assessment (OSA).

Students reported experiencing few technical difficulties during the assessments and the majority appear open to the concept of OSA in high-stakes contexts in the future. However, students could identify advantages and disadvantages with OSA and were also aware of some barriers that may prevent large-scale uptake of this mode of assessment.

There was a strong theme within the data that preparation was key for a successful transition to OSA, with students asserting that this should involve gaining experience of OSA from the beginning of secondary school. As few students prior to the pandemic regularly used a laptop or computer, developing keyboard skills in order to improve typing speed, for example, was also cited as important.

Similarly, teachers’ responses were largely positive but they also identified positive and negative aspects to this mode of assessment. Overall, they expressed a preference for a blended approach with a balance of on-screen and paper-based assessment.


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