Exams officers will have witnessed in recent years an increasing emphasis on web-based services for all aspects of examination administration, with the JCQ awarding bodies systematically adding functionality to their extranet sites. Online tools, accessible via awarding bodies’ extranet sites, have been developed which enable centres to process access arrangements, order modified papers, create customised online timetables and key dates calendars.
An ever-increasing number of exams office personnel now use web-based services to carry out administrative tasks quickly and easily, the result being paperless administration processes and a more efficient exams office.
We are aware that a significant number of centres already make use of their MIS packages to produce their own results statements or, alternatively, to access results data via awarding body extranet sites, particularly given the online results analyses that most awarding bodies now provide.
In light of this, and after careful consideration, the JCQ awarding bodies have agreed that, with effectfrom the GCSE November 2010 series, results will be issued to centres solely in an electronic format.
Why are we moving to e-results and what are the benefits to centres and candidates?
Real time results information
- The current hard copy system is a two week old ‘snapshot’ of management information and candidates’ results. This is data which may change in advance of the results release date and often needs to be updated after that point due to the growing use of the late certification service.
- e-results provide a more dynamic link with the awarding bodies’ data and are therefore a much more effective way of meeting the requirements of the modern, unitised, assessment environment.
Reduced administration for exams officers
- A large percentage of centres already benefit from using electronic systems to produce common consolidated results slips, which show the results issued by all awarding bodies. This reduces the need to manually collate the information from across a range of awarding bodies.
- No need to manage ongoing hard copy results updates from awarding bodies.
Clear benefits for candidates
- Most centres will be able to provide a single, consolidated statement of results which shows the results issued by all awarding bodies.
- It will be possible for all centres to instantly replace a lost or damaged statement of results or to provide an updated statement of results.
Flexibility as to when results are issued
- The current hard copy system is constrained by the need to print, collate and despatch results.
- e-results will allow greater flexibility as to when results are issued. Results have traditionally been released to candidates on a Thursday. Awarding bodies will consider centres’ preferences as to which day of the week results should be released.
New technology – improved results data will be accessible via enhanced extranet sites
- The facility to replicate existing hard copy results data, where desired.
- All awarding bodies are committed to continuing to invest significantly in their extranet sites.
A ‘greener’ solution reducing carbon footprint
- Transportation of paper will be much reduced.
- Less paper will be used, as centres can choose what to print.
What are the concerns which centres have expressed to us?
Awarding bodies are transferring the costs to centres
Any savings for the awarding bodies will be invested in a new EDI system for the 21st century, ongoing enhancements to extranet sites and use of technology to further support e-assessment and e-processing initiatives.
More administration will be required within centres
Most centres will no longer need to manage hard copy results statements from multiple awarding bodies – e-results will be a far less complicated system for handling results. Indeed recent research has shown that around 86% of centres already use their MIS package to produce single, consolidated statements of results.
Candidates need to produce awarding body branded statements of results when enrolling with a Sixth Form or FE College
As awarding body branded statements of results will no longer be available from November 2010, colleges will become used to seeing centre-endorsed results, e.g. results printed on school letter headed paper and/or stamped. Where there is doubt, once certificates have been issued these can be requested from the candidate.
What if my centre’s internet connection goes down?
If necessary, access to an awarding body’s extranet site could be made from an alternative secure location, e.g. an office of the Local Authority. Results are sent by more than one electronic method – via awarding body secure extranet sites and EDI, so centres will have a back-up. In addition, awarding bodies have contingency arrangements in place where the most conventional alternatives are unavailable.