The New Zealand Qualifications Authority has finalised contracts with SoNET Systems Pty Limited to develop, deliver and support the NCEA Online digital assessment service that is being introduced progressively over the next few years.
NZQA plans to deliver about a third of NCEA examinations online in 2019.
NZQA Deputy Chief Executive of Digital Assessment Transformation Andrea Gray says the organisation is adopting a planned, staged approach to delivering NCEA online, to expand the range and scope of subjects offered as schools gain confidence in completing digital exams and as technology evolves.
The next major stage involves offering 14 text-based subjects digitally across levels 1-3 in 2019 (about a third of the total), with another third planned for 2020. The subjects which will be available online can be found on NZQA’s website.
Cabinet granted funding to enable NZQA to continue building the systems needed to offer NCEA exams online. This involves completing the solution design, undertaking the initial production-quality build of the new solution and operating model, and assessing suitable subjects to offer online in 2019. NZQA has carried out a robust procurement process for the development and delivery of NCEA Online.
SoNET provides a platform to allow flexible assessment from any location across multiple delivery methods. Its online testing software Assessment Master is securely delivered from its cloud infrastructure in Australia.
SoNET is also working with the SACE Board of South Australia to develop and deliver digital exams. This creates opportunities for all the partners to collaborate and design an online assessment system that supports the demonstration of a student’s learning.
Ms Gray said engagement and co-design with schools will continue to be a crucial part of ensuring that NZQA and SoNET ‘get it right’.
“Feedback on the Digital Trials and Pilots show we’re on the right path, with students overall valuing the digital examination experience.”