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Should students be allowed to use the internet in exams?

Pupils in Denmark will soon be doing their final secondary school exams while being able to access the internet. Will this give them an unfair advantage over other students?

Education chiefs says that Danish students already use the web so prolifically that they should be allowed to use it while writing tests.

Denmark will be the first country in the world to allow the pupils to search the internet while being examined. The idea is to introduce it across the country by 2011.

The government says the use of a calculator was heavily criticised when it was first introduced into the exam hall but is now standard practice.

Should students be allowed to use the internet in exams? Is this a good way to test knowledge? How important is the internet in education?

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Published: Wednesday, 4 November, 2009, 08:41 GMT 08:41 UK

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Added: Wednesday, 4 November, 2009, 09:05 GMT 09:05 UK

Sad to see the same sort of dumbed-down nonsense over there as we've had over here. It seems you can be illiterate & innumerate and still be a winner.

Quote from the kids film 'The Incredibles': 'when everyone's super, no one will be.'

Nu LieBa, their hand in your pocket, Uzbekistan

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Added: Wednesday, 4 November, 2009, 09:23 GMT 09:23 UK

It is the organisation of thought that is being tested, not the knowledge of facts, so where is the problem?

BFG

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Added: Wednesday, 4 November, 2009, 09:27 GMT 09:27 UK

At this level (final secondary school exams, roughly equal to A levels) it should be a test of understanding, not of memory. Use of the internet is the same as any open book exam; the pupil can check formulea or dates etc, but how they use and interpret that data is (should be) what is being tested. And time spent checking data is time that could otherwise be used for interpretation, so the wise pupil will have remembered enough to avoid wasting time.

[MarkGE], Witney, United Kingdom

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Added: Wednesday, 4 November, 2009, 09:26 GMT 09:26 UK

The internet could make an exam harder because of the time spent searching rather than writing.

When language exams in Scotland first allowed the use of dictionaries, pupils lost a lot of time looking up words (and often comically coming up with very much the wrong expression!)

Splother

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Added: Wednesday, 4 November, 2009, 09:22 GMT 09:22 UK

Oh dear, the question displays the problem.

"Testing Knowledge" is NOT what it's about. Testing ability is where it's at.

If we had less "know it alls" and more ability perhaps we would all be better off.

John Robert, United Kingdom

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Added: Wednesday, 4 November, 2009, 17:18 GMT 17:18 UK

Testing knowledge is one thing. Testing critical thinking is another thing altogether.

Google "9/11" and it will say something like "the heat from the jet fuel was so intense that it melted tons of steel and caused the twin towers to collapse in 2 hours."

If you had used your critical brain instead of "knowledge" from the internet, you would know that "jet fuel cannot melt steel in 2 hours."

Allowing pupils to sift through the rubbish to get the facts is the right way to go.

jeff phua

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Added: Wednesday, 4 November, 2009, 08:56 GMT 08:56 UK

An even better way to ensure success would be to give them the examination answers already, that way nobody has to fail and feel upset.

Joe Lyndon

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Added: Wednesday, 4 November, 2009, 19:29 GMT 19:29 UK

The internet contains gems like
* Barack Obama isn't a US citizen
* the world is flat
* how to make a helmet that prevents aliens from communicating with you
* far-right political "literature" for self-pitying losers, complete with libellous statements about certain racial groups
.

Phosgene Gasse

and also claims about climate change dismissed by scientists at the IPCC but still used by the gov, left wing propoganda and insults to use when someone disagrees with this propoganda

john davis, Motherwell, United Kingdom

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Added: Wednesday, 4 November, 2009, 09:06 GMT 09:06 UK

I admire Denmark as a nation. They seem to have got many things right. They are a modern progressive country.

As ICT (as computer learning is called in our schools) is so profoundly embedded in every subject surely it make sense that if it is so important it should be used for practical purposes, say in exams.

At least this is more purposeful than playing games, which seems to be 99% of what computers are used for.

Ken addison

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Added: Wednesday, 4 November, 2009, 09:19 GMT 09:19 UK

Richard Hill.
What you know amounts to an insignificant amount of the sum of all knowledge. Surely it is most imperative that you are able to use the best tool available for the search for it, ie the computer and the internet. What better way than to make this a crucial part of some exams?
EE-by-gum, when I wer' a lad we had t' add up in our 'eds.

Ken addison

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Added: Wednesday, 4 November, 2009, 08:56 GMT 08:56 UK

Great idea. Give them Internet access, reference books, why not model answers?

Why bother with exams which only test whether you can cut an paste?

And by the way, since the provision of calculators in exams the take up of post-school numeracy courses has rocketed. Coincidence? I think not.

[chiptheduck], England, a suburb of Brussels

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Added: Wednesday, 4 November, 2009, 09:16 GMT 09:16 UK

Honestly, whatever next?

While we're at it, why not ban marking exam papers with red ink, becasue it looks too aggressive and may upset pupils?.....Or have THEY done that already?

[thepilgarlic], hunmanby, United Kingdom

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Added: Wednesday, 4 November, 2009, 09:14 GMT 09:14 UK

I thought that "exams" were against human rights these days and they hand out A grades to make everyone feel equal. I suppose surfing the net would just be something to pass the time during the exam. Like finding out what's on the telly and the like.

Darren, Dunkirk

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Added: Wednesday, 4 November, 2009, 09:04 GMT 09:04 UK

It's called cheating everywhere else. If you don't know email a friend.

Jim McCann, Dumbarton, United Kingdom

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Added: Wednesday, 4 November, 2009, 09:13 GMT 09:13 UK

"Denmark will be the first country in the world to allow the pupils to search the internet while being examined. The idea is to introduce it across the country by 2011."

Great idea! A new style exam which doesn't test your knowledge only your google skills!

Why not give them a test and another sheet with the answers on? That'll cut down on costs as well :-)

Bert Friday

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