Should Google be allowed in exams?

Posted on 05 May 2015 in All news

Since the schooling system started by Queen Victoria in 1880, students have had to listen and learn throughout the whole year at school and then revise for their exams. This provides assessment on the children that are progressing or deteriorating, the geniuses of this world and the ones that may need some extra tutoring. It also evidently validates how well teachers have educated their students.

Why now should students be able to google in exams? How will we be able to monitor what has been taught and learnt throughout the year? How will we be able to monitor children’s actual natural progression, or ones that may need more help than others if they can use the internet?

The Chief Executive of the UK’s leading examination board, OCR, Mark Dawe states that “pupils still need to know what to search for and how to interpret the search results to get the answer they want, and producing answers in this way more closely resembles how they’ll work later in life. He says the modern world is more about interpreting and discussing information, rather than storing it all in our heads. Surely when they learn in the classroom, everyone uses Google if there is a question. It is more about understanding what results you’re seeing rather than keeping all of that knowledge in your head, because that’s not how the modern world works.”

How does it reflect the way in which students learn? The only area this system could work is to allow students to demonstrate their ability to evaluate the quality and credibility of information they can find on the internet and plan their answers accordingly. The grade boundaries would be set extremely high and it would be even harder to achieve an A*.

Chris McGovern, spokesperson for the Campaign for Real Education, opposed Dawe’s argument, condemning it as “dumbing down” the education system. “You can have an exam in how to use Google – that’s not the same thing as having a history exam or a geography exam. We do have to test what children are carrying in their heads.”

It is clear that testing all students solely on examinations is not a fair way to show each student’s true capability as everyone learns differently, through different means. Some people excel under the exam stress and some suffer, therefore not all children  are given a true grade for their potential. There is a stigma surrounding exams, maybe too much pressure is put on students and the grade at the end.

We asked Ex Teacher, Head teacher and Post Graduate Teacher Training University lecturer and Link Tutor Mel Dyke for her opinion.

Oxford English Dictionary definition of: EXAMINATION. The testing of the proficiency or knowledge of students or other candidates for a qualification by oral or written questions. I am a loss to understand the purpose of an examination which would enable candidates to seek information and find guidance or solutions within the examination procedure itself. I see this as a further potential lowering of professional standards and performance in our educational and assessment systems.”



Blog Post by Amelia Watson