Student perceptions of technology in assessment

By Katy Finch, Tom Dunn


The influence of the ‘student voice’ in education has been growing over recent years, yet still remains in its infancy within high-stakes summative assessment. Simultaneously, the use of technology in the classroom and beyond continues to be promoted (DfE, 2019), with many students now accustomed to various forms of technological pedagogy. As these changes begin to filter into the administration of assessments, it seems appropriate to ensure that the student voice is heard in this area and student perceptions of these changes are captured.

This research focuses on students (n = 14; age 16–18 years) in England who have recently taken, or were due to take, high-stakes GCSE assessments in paper format. Through focus groups, we explore the students’ perceptions of how educational technology such as on-screen examinations and artificial intelligence (AI) could be integrated into the assessment process.

A thematic analysis of the transcribed data (Braun & Clarke, 2006) captured three main themes: student views on the use of on-screen assessments; the potential use of AI in assessments; and, due to the timing of the focus groups in June 2020, the impact of the Covid-19 school closures on learning and assessment. Further subthemes included the disparity in student experience and access to resources as well as the impact of technological limitations and subject suitability on the involvement of technology in high-stakes assessment.


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