The BBC today reports that Nord-Trondelag county in Norway has been trying out the laptop-based system in which secondary school student ares given a laptop by the government. Initially the laptop is supposed to help with school work (the machines come bundled with all kinds of software depending on the course) but according to the Beeb, as soon as it’s time for tests, specially-tailored software “springs into life” to block and record attempts at cheating.
Bjorg Helland, project manager for digital literacy at Nord-Trondelag county council, told the BBC that the decision to move to laptops was taken to ensure that, in the exam hall, students used equipment with which they were familiar.* "This is used both during their final exams before going to college or university but also during tests when the teacher wants to have a test with the class," she said.
Helland explained that the anti-cheating software uses a keylogger and takes screenshots meaning if someone has cheated they can pull up a screenshot of them doing so and punish them accordingly. Spell check does not count as cheating.
The trial has so far been extremely successful and Norway is considering rolling out computerized examinations in every school in time for the new school year, which starts in September.
*What so kids these days have never put a pen to paper?