Yew Chung pilots online IGCSE

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 May, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 May, 2006, 12:00am

Yew Chung International School in Shanghai is among the first in the world to have used a computer-based test for the International General Certificate of Secondary Education exams.

Schools in Asia, Africa and Europe were last month the first to use the computer-based practical component of the University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) geography IGCSE.

The virtual test will be offered to all schools as an alternative to either coursework or the paper exam, according to a spokeswoman for CIE. It allowed students to use simulations of measuring equipment, as well as video and audio clips.

David Williamson, a geography teacher at Yew Chung, said: 'Students were impressed with the whole experience and enjoyed it. Many said, 'Why can't we do maths or history this way?''

To prevent cheating, the system locks down the rest of the computer so students do not have access to the internet or other areas of the system. Practice materials include simulations on topics such as the weather, rivers and inner cities and are available on the teacher support website.

CIE is now conducting further pilot studies of computer-based assessment in other subjects such as maths and biology.

Chris Durbin, the ESF's curriculum development adviser (secondary), welcomed the use of computers for the exam. 'Geography is a visual subject and if the examination board is willing to use video clips of places and animations of physical processes as well as interactive maps then this reflects much more about the 21st century geography that students learn in school,' he said. Traditional papers, with black and white photos, were boring in comparion.