Monday, February 28, 2011

Exams by computer

I'm waking up slowly the other day, and one of my pleasures is to listen to Radio4 before I drag myself out of bed to face the day. Isabel Nisbet, the outgoing chief of OfQual, was on. She has a lovely idea: the youth of tomorrow should do their examinations on computer.

Well, fine and dandy. Let's just imagine that we're a sixth form college or around 3000 students. We have two years, both of which do exams in the summer, and there is some overlap in the timetables.

Soooooo....we could have around 2000 students doing exams at the same time. Now, we need a bit of leeway, and we have a three year replacement cycle so...

  • I need to build a network to manage 2000 computers
  • I need to buy around 700 a year to replace old ones- that's a budget of around a quarter of a million a year on computers alone.
  • I need, ooh, 40 computer rooms - which I don't need the rest of the year.
  • Oh, and they need to be secure for exams.
If Ms Nisbet can tell me where that lot is coming from, I'm up for it.