At the Wargentin School in Östersund, a part of the Jämtland High School Association, about 15,000 tests and assignments were conducted in Digiexam last year (2020), one of many schools using a user-friendly and reliable test platform for much more than just the National Exams.
Digiexam had the opportunity to sit down with a couple of the teachers at JGY to discuss online examination platforms in general and Digiexam in particular.
What did you need in your role as a teacher in a test platform?
A discussion about becoming more digital at JGY preceded the implementation of Digiexam to prepare for the digitization of the National Exams spring of 2017. In addition to the opportunity to take the National Exams digitally, there was also a desire to save time with automatic grading, such as the ability to carry out certain types of tasks and create a sharing culture around efficient digital tools and working methods.
A prerequisite was a user-friendly tool that would work no matter if the network was offline or if something unforeseen happened. For the implementation of the National Exams specifically, we wanted to ensure legal security when carrying through common, anonymous assessments and to avoid interpreting difficult handwriting. An opportunity for students to write in the way they are used to.
One challenge is that there might be a certain collegial hush-hush where you either don’t want to share or feel judged to not be sufficiently digital according to their way of working. This i turn might result in a gap between digital doers and those who turn out more reluctant to digital working methods, a challenge we do not think we are alone in.
Anna Jansson is a teacher in biology, social sciences and environmental subjects and runs the question of students’ right to be objectively and legally assessed for their assignments at school. A crucial factor for students to rely on, that they are actually judged solely for their actual text and not past achievements is to show and explain what the correction view looks like in Digiexam through a test exam, they see their own part in the anonymous assessment and the teacher can show the entire assessment process.
We believe that it increases the students’ sense of legal security in all parts of the examination process!
A quote from Anna probably summarizes what many teachers today feel.
“I am confident in my subject and my role as a teacher, but the biggest challenges lie in the assessment of the students”
The first impression of Digiexam?
A user-friendly platform and difficult to make mistakes. We knew that Digiexam was a trusted and well-used platform in Swedish schools for different types of assignments. Digiexam is suitable for language subjects for both more complex assignments as well as easier self-correcting hearing and reading comprehension tests.
Given what can be read in various social media teacher groups about how other platforms are not working, we are very happy to have made the right choice.
How has implementation and support worked for Digiexam at JGY?
Firstly, we taught the people involved with the National Exams on-site and then we appointed implementation managers at JGY to help teach and implement the platform at the various schools.
The knowledge of Digiexam was disseminated through the carrying out of the National Exams when many teachers were invigilating the first online exams. The implementation was quick without any concerns. What we learned afterward, is to also involve the school management to learn how the platform is used in order to be able to improve the conditions locally, it might be tough conditions working as teachers, hence they need time and the right conditions to succeed. Quick support with answers you understand and can use directly, which is often crucial in the midst of an ongoing test.
What effect did Digiexam have in the classroom?
As the role of mentors, we experience a daily use of the computers by the students in more parts of the teaching and Digiexam is one of the contributing factors.
We also use Digiexam for test exams and rehearsal assignments for large exams, which has significantly improved the students’ preparation for the real exams.
How do students experience Digiexam for more than just the National Exams?
The students consider it to be a huge part of the education, it is not just as an “exam platform” but an integral part of the teaching.
It will be exciting to discover new features such as Advanced Reader and how it can support students in exams and assignments. Spontaneously it makes it more useful in social science than language, it feels exciting to test!