The West

Traditional pen and paper exams are set to continue for WA Year 12s after an online trial was scrapped this year because of funding cuts.

The School Curriculum and Standards Authority started trying online exams on Year 11s from selected schools in 2008 with the aim to eventually conduct Year 12 exams online for some courses.

_The West Australian _revealed the program was thrown into doubt early this year when schools said they did not get any confirmation it would continue.

The authority said in February it would continue to investigate opportunities for using online exams.

But the State Government's mid-year financial projections statement, released last week, confirmed the authority discontinued its online exam trials as part of budget cuts.

Edith Cowan University centre for schooling and learning technologies director Paul Newhouse said State budget constraints meant WA students would miss out on the opportunity to have a more relevant and engaging curriculum.

"However, I am hopeful that within the next few years it will become untenable not to exploit the benefits of these powerful technologies," he said.

"In some senior secondary courses, this is already obvious, such as for applied information technology, where the final assessment only uses pen and paper despite the whole course being about using digital technologies."

Authority chief executive Allan Blagaich said the online exams trial gathered significant information.

"The SCSA will be consulting with other assessment and reporting authorities in Australia and around the world to determine cost-efficient and effective systems," he said. "This level of research does not require any additional trialling in schools."

About 800 Year 11s sat computer-based exams in French, Italian and economics in 2010 and about 1000 students did their exams online last year.

Teachers and students who took part in the WA trial said the online tests provided better quality assessments, especially for languages, because they allowed students to listen and respond to verbal passages at their own pace.

State education ministers have agreed to work towards moving national literacy and numeracy tests online by 2016.

The West Australian

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