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GCSE Teacher with students

Should students be allowed to use the Internet during exams?

It might sound like it completely defeats the purpose of sitting an exam but, should students be allowed to access the internet to help them formulate answers? This is the suggestion being posed by one headmaster in Sydney.

The Kambala Girls School head says that being able to access the Internet during an examination would help students to relax, removing some of the nerves and anxiety that is often associated with sitting an exam.

The comments came as Australian students sit the High School Certificate or HSC. The HSC is taken by year 11 and 12 students as they graduate high school, meaning it’s the culmination of their secondary education. With this, of course, comes lots of pressure, much the same as Britain’s GCSE and A-Level students face. With that in mind, the head, Shane Hogan says that perhaps it’s time to allow the Internet into exam halls – a pretty bold move when you consider that mobile phones are banned and even the use of calculators for mathematics papers has been regulated by the government with restrictions placed on permissible calculator models and the functions it offers.

Having the Internet accessible to students is, therefore, a huge (and somewhat controversial) suggestion.

Hogan says that many students sit the exams with an essay already prepared, which they’ll simply write out in the exam’s allotted time. However, what this means is that information is simply being regurgitated because it’s been memorised – something he says makes the current exam format outdated and old fashioned.

If you’re of the mind that granting Internet access to students sitting exams is ridiculous, it’s worth considering this point made by the headmaster to a local radio station in Sydney, “If we’re gonna test the kids let them use the tools that they will really use when they’re out in the workplace.

“The students have the essays prepared before they enter the room. It’s almost irrelevant.

“There’s no depth in their learning, there’s no passion in their learning. It’s merely a race to the finish. It’s time the HSC entered this century.”

We think it may well be a while before we start to see web browsing allowed in the exam hall but, do you agree that it would be a step forward and more closely linked with the real-life experiences awaiting students in the workplace after they complete their exams or not? Share your thoughts with us on social media.