During the Life Sciences Paper 3 (Practical) examination last week, the IEB piloted two innovations that set the IEB aside as a world leader in the world of assessment. Both initiatives address the very contentious area of reliability in assessment.
The first innovation is the use of an electronic reader for learners who qualify for the use of a reader in examinations. The IEB Electronic Reader is a system that ensures that all learners who require a reader are exposed to the same reading voice and are not advantaged or disadvantaged by the specific competence of the reader they are allocated. Not only does the system ensure consistency in the quality of reading across learners, it is also a cost-saving in that schools or parents do not have to pay for the reader’s time for each examination. The system works from a computer that is linked to the school’s server where the examination paper is stored in a secure environment until the examination commences. The photograph shows Sarah Joubert (she has the headphones on) from St Marys Waverley using the Electronic Reader for her Life Sciences Practical examination. The IEB would like to acknowledge the schools that have tested the system in this examination namely St Marys Waverley in Johannesburg, Kingswood College in Grahamstown and Dainfern College in Gauteng.
The second is the IEB’s Electronic Packaging system for the storage of examination material. This system allows the IEB to control the time at which examination papers are opened at a school and also the time at which the answer scripts must be packed away in the examination bag for return to the IEB. This system allows the IEB to ensure that examination papers are not opened prematurely and that answer scripts are secured timeously, thereby preventing any interference with answer scripts before they are returned to the IEB. The IEB has introduced this system as a means to protect our schools from any accusation of possible impropriety. The system was piloted with 20 schools during the Life Sciences Practical examination. There was a small glitch with 3 schools. The developers of the system have identified what the problem was and it was the same problem in the 3 schools. That problem has now been rectified. That is what pilot projects are for – to find possible glitches in the system. The October/November pilot will be expanded to include 30 schools across the country.
The first photograph shows Jill Milne, the principal from La Salle College, using the electronic key to pick up the GPS signal. The bag containing the question papers and the lock are also visible. In the second photograph, she is captured opening the lock on the examination bag using the electronic key. The IEB is very excited to have trialled this system, a world first. The IEB would like to acknowledge the schools who participated in this very first pilot as well as the developers, Smart Locking Logic, who have made our ideas a reality.