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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 May 2006, 09:54 GMT 10:54 UK
Pupils to sit first online exams
Girl using computer
Pupils will be able to use computers for their exams
School pupils in Scotland are set to sit exams online for the first time as this year's exam season got under way.

The first of the 140,000 candidates turned over their Standard Grade papers at 0900 BST on Tuesday.

And later this month 120 pupils and students in schools and colleges across the country will use computers to sit a multiple choice exam in biotechnology.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) said the move was a "significant milestone" in modernising exams.

A spokesman stressed that while a mouse would replace a pen for candidates, the other aspects of the exam would remain the same as normal.

More than 750,000 exam entries
140,000 candidates in more than 500 schools and exam centres
More than 7,500 markers
Three million exam scripts to be marked
575 question papers prepared
Almost 100 music and language tapes recorded

Only the candidate and the invigilator will be able to see individual screens, while the answers will be submitted directly to a secure SQA area.

The idea will be trialled by volunteers sitting the Intermediate 2 and Higher biotechnology exam on 16 May.

"This first use of technology in a formal exam is a significant milestone as we continue to modernise Scotland's exam process," said SQA chief executive Anton Colella.

"Candidates involved in previous internal assessment pilots have told us they enjoy this way of working.

"We still have much to do before reliable, secure electronic exams become the norm, but this is an excellent start."

Other countries

The first exams to be sat this year will be Standard Grades in administration and Italian.

A total of 575 different exams will be taken at Standard Grade, Intermediate 1 and Intermediate 2, Higher and Advanced Higher levels between now and 9 June.

SQA national qualification exams will also be sat in 11 other countries, stretching from Argentina to Hong Kong.

See some views on sitting exams online

Council fast-tracks exam pupils
27 Jan 06 |  Scotland
Mixed results on exam pass rate
27 Sep 05 |  Scotland
Age gap as pupils sit exams early
09 Aug 05 |  Scotland
Proposal to lower age for exams
28 May 04 |  Scotland

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