Students and parents support on-screen assessment – but digital illiteracy and access must be tackled

Published: Monday 3 Oct 2022

Students and parents strongly support on-screen assessment, but digital illiteracy and digital access must be tackled to ensure on-screen assessment is fair for all students, according to a new report commissioned by AQA.

The independent poll explored public attitudes towards on-screen assessment and asked a series of questions to a nationally representative sample of 2,336 people in England, aged 18 and over.

The findings of the survey, published today in the report On-screen assessment: What do the public think?, found that the general public – and students and parents of school-aged children – broadly believe that on-screen assessment has distinct advantages over paper-based assessment.

Over half of the respondents said they would prefer to sit an on-screen assessment, even those who had only previously sat paper-based tests. In addition, students and parents of school-aged children reported relatively high levels of support for a transition to on-screen assessment, and its benefits for students.

However, the survey also revealed some perceived challenges that should be tackled as the transition to on-screen assessment develops.

The fairness of on-screen assessment, and its impact on different types of students, emerged as a key concern across all groups surveyed in the poll, with 7 in 10 respondents saying that they thought on-screen assessment would advantage students who are proficient with computers.

The survey also revealed regional differences in attitudes, with people in London, the North West and the South East more likely to report a preference for on-screen assessment.

These obstacles are not insurmountable, but will require careful consideration and mitigations.

AQA is leading the transition to on-screen assessment, and we launched a major pilot of GCSE on-screen trials earlier this year.

A major part of the pilot is research and evaluation into the best mode of delivery, and the challenges we need to address, and we’ll continue to share our findings and help make digital assessment a reality.

AQA’s CEO, Colin Hughes, will share the findings of today’s report at a Conservative Party conference event this evening.

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