Providers and partners

Use of a Computer for External Assessment (Exams)

For all enquiries, please email sac@nzqa.govt.nz

These processes do not apply to students sitting digital exams.

These processes do apply in situations where a

  • student with the relevant SAC approval is using a computer to type instead of writing
  • writer is using a computer to type for a student with the relevant SAC approval
  • student is using a computer to type instead of writing as a result of the Computer Notification process.

Decision needed for each subject:

  • Since a computer is interchangeable with a writer, students are encouraged to practise with both early in the year and decide which one they prefer to use for exams, by subject. For exam sessions the student must select Computer for the whole session, or Writer for the whole session (including when the writer has opted to type) and not standard by standard.
  • Some specific examination sessions allow for the use of Extra Time to replace use of Computer or Writer for any student approved for Computer/Writer but not Extra Time. See Extra Writing Time Option

Using a computer in an assessment or exam:

  • Spell check and grammar check are allowed except for any standard that requires the student to demonstrate their use of writing conventions.
  • Students (and typists) should set up headers on their pages before they start, with the standard number, standard name and their NSN (for external examinations) or name (for internally assessed standards or practice exams), to ensure their printed work is identifiable.
  • Students print their work during the assessment and the school organises a printer in the exam room or to a networked printer in a central location. If printing to a networked printer, the school organises delivery of printed pages to the exam room.
  • USB flash drives or other portable storage devices are not to be used in timed assessments.
  • When there is more than one student using a computer they may be seated in one room unless approved for isolation. A student whose Writer has opted to type still requires separate accommodation as the student will be speaking.
  • Where the assessment requires a diagram or graph or map to be drawn or completed, the student refers the marker to the relevant assessment pages (e.g. See Qu 3b on p7 in the answer booklet) and hand writes their answer there. Alternatively, if no space is provided in the assessment pages, the student leaves a space on their answer page, prints the page, and then draws in the space.
  • Further specific instructions about external exam procedures are published each year.

Computer use in Language exams

  • A student may use a computer for any Language exam and should download the language keyboard software and fully enable it before starting the exam. Students planning to use language keyboards should practice using these during the year.
  • The same applies where a Typist is being used instead of a Writer.

Computer setup for exams

School computers

The Principal’s Nominee is responsible for ensuring that students using a computer:

  • do not have access to any external information via wireless, Bluetooth or similar.
  • have their mobile phones powered off and in their emergency packs.
  • do not have access to any files created prior to the examination (except those that are systems-related).
  • do not use flash drives or other portable storage devices
  • cannot read the screens of other students
  • are able to print from their computer to a supervised printer in the exam room or a networked central printer. If no printer is available in the exam room, a school-provided supervisor will be stationed at any networked central printer to gather any printed material and take it to the exam room thus preserving the security and authenticity of the exam material.
  • understand they may not collect printed work themselves.

Candidates’ Own Devices

Principal’s Nominees need to be aware that there are difficulties inherent in setting up students’ own devices to ensure candidate work is authentic.

If students use their own devices, the Principal’s Nominee is responsible for ensuring students:

  • do not have access to any external information via wireless, Bluetooth or similar.
  • have their mobile phones powered off and in their emergency packs.
  • do not have access to any files created prior to the examination (except those that are systems-related).
  • do not use flash drives or other portable storage devices
  • are able to connect their devices to a supervised school printer and print their work.

Technical resourcing for exams

The Principal’s Nominee will ensure that:

  • a technician is readily available to assist the supervisor of the assessment
  • any printer used is well-stocked with paper, and that replacement ink or toner cartridges are on-site in the event these run out during an assessment.

Technicians may only help with:

  • mechanical problems
  • software issues
  • printer issues.

The time taken to resolve an issue will be recorded by the supervisor. This time will be added to the end of the examination for that candidate. If the time taken to resolve such an issue is going to exceed 20 minutes in an NZQA examination, the candidate is entitled to apply for a derived grade.

Backing up the assessment

  • A backup of each student’s work must be saved to a secure location only accessible to the Principal’s Nominee.
  • All files created by a student for the examination are to be permanently deleted after backups have been made, and before the computer is next used.

 

 

 
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