With schools across the territory adopting a hybrid approach to learning (online and face-to-face classes) for this academic year, a number of schools have implemented new measures to prevent students from engaging in unethical practices during online examinations.
Education Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley made that statement in an exclusive interview with BVI News on Wednesday.
Dr Wheatley said there were a variation of measures school principals employed to ensure that there was no academic dishonesty. He outlined a couple of those practices.
“For instance, we had tests that had time-limits and that different students would receive different tests. So it would be difficult to call your friend to get an answer,” Dr Wheatley stated.
“We also had in some instances [in which] students had to do oral presentations where it would be very difficult to be dishonest when having to answer on-the-spot questions on camera. So those are just two examples.”
Loopholes exists in every mechanism
The minister, however, said there were still flaws within the system. He said this meant students could have created a way to cheat once they knew of a way to beat the system.
“Of course, we know persons are very creative sometimes in being dishonest. So nothing is 100 percent foolproof. Even when you are in exams in a classroom, nothing is 100 percent foolproof but we try our best to make it as difficult as possible to be dishonest, and we encourage students and parents to see that the goal is to learn and not necessarily to get a particular grade,” he explained.
All in-person primary school exams
Dr Wheatley also said a decision was made to have students from only one educational stage sit exams in a face-to-face environment.
“At the primary level, all the students came in to do their exams in person and that would be a true test of whether they were able to learn based on the objects that were set and so I would be looking into those results to see how they performed,” he stated.
The minister said he will be requesting the examination results of all schools to gauge the extent to which students performed during this pandemic period.
In the meantime, Wheatley commended both the principals and teachers for doing an excellent job during this unprecedented transition caused by COVID-19.
He said: “I am quite impressed with how they were able to deliver on their goals. While, of course, it is not perfect — by no stretch of the imagination that this mode has its disadvantages — I would say beyond a shadow of a doubt that the teachers, the principals and the students exceeded expectations based on the situation that we’re faced with.”
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