International Baccalaureate exams to move online

‘There will be a moment when there’s a shift,’ the organisation’s director-general told the IB global conference in the Hague

The director-general of the International Baccalaureate (IB) has announced the organisation’s intention to move all of its exams online.

Digital exams allow students to be assessed in a manner better suited to the workplace and the 21st century, Olli-Pekka Heinonen told the IB’s global conference in the Hague earlier this month.

The former Finnish minister of education added that it will “future proof” the qualification, as well as allowing those outside mainstream education, or who have to learn remotely, to be able to access it.

No timeline has been set for the switch, with schools initially expected to be offered a choice of online or paper-based exams.

“The paper assessments will be there for the interim period, but I also see that there is a time when we will move to a digital environment,” Heinonen told The Times.

“It’s not like, once we have the digital assessment ready, the next day we will abandon paper, [but] there will be a moment when there’s a shift.”

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The proposal has been welcomed by Malvern College, one of 203 British schools to offer the qualification.

“The moves being taken by the IB are very encouraging,” said the boarding school’s head, Keith Metcalfe. “The way we assess our children has not fundamentally changed for decades, but the working environment which we are preparing them for has. Exams need to move with the times.

“All children and young people have different needs when it comes to schooling and that is no different at exam time. It is our responsibility as educators to focus on each individual child and find the best way for them to express their abilities. Increasingly, this is through the use of technology.

“By incorporating technology into schooling we are preparing pupils for, and to some extent assessing them on, the skills they are likely to need in the future.”

Pic: Head of Malvern College, Keith Metcalfe

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