Should you be able to Google in your exams?

Pupils taking exams

The head of one of the country's biggest exam boards says students should be allowed to use Google during exams.

Mark Dawe, from OCR, argues that "everyone has a computer available to solve a problem but it's about how they interpret the results".

He said: "We have tools, like Google. Why would you exclude those from students' learning?"

It's been described as "a load of rubbish" and "a ridiculous idea".

But others about to sit exams think it could work because it would "test resourcefulness and initiative" rather than your memory.

The suggestion comes from a researcher working for the OCR who was looking at the way maths is tested.

Will Hornby argues that we need to change if pupils are to develop the necessary skills for a modern workplace.


So we asked you what you think, via our Facebook page.


Monica Rimmer: How ridiculous! What's the point of an exam? Anyone can just Google and write down a load of blurb, doesn't mean they actually understand what they're writing. After all, isn't that the point? To test our knowledge?

'It depends...'

Anthony Hawkins: Depends if you're being examined on what you've learned or what you know. Wouldn't this unfairly advantage the wealthier students with the newest, fastest, phones and tablets? Or students in 4G areas or fibre-connected schools versus students in rural areas with bad internet?

'At work you can Google'

Nia Cooper: In the workplace, you would be able to Google things you don't know. If we're looking for education to be a preparation for the workplace, and exams to be a test of that preparation, then why not test resourcefulness and initiative by allowing students to Google things in their exams?

Exam in progress

'You still need to ask the right question'

Michael Lewis: There is a very big difference between knowledge and the application of that knowledge. You can recite formula, dates, facts, figure all you want. It means nothing if you can't use them in correct way. So in that respect, Google can churn out facts and figures but you still need to ask the right question and know where and how to use the information


Rishi Dave: What a load of rubbish!

'Could be good'

Luther Yeates: Could be a good idea, as the questions would be appropriate. So you would test the application of knowledge rather than just asking a candidate to state something. Just because I can Google about quantum mechanics, doesn't mean I could write a legible answer about it.

Wouldn't this unfairly advantage the wealthier students with the newest, fastest, phones and tablets?
Anthony Hawkins

'Why bother?'

Andrew Cook: Why bother with exams if that's the case?

'Defeats the point'

Siane Rowe: Wouldn't using Google just defeat the whole point of testing someone's knowledge? I've been through it, yes using Google would have made it a hell of a lot easier, but then what would he point be? You wouldn't be testing someone's academic ability, you'd be testing their Google abilities.

If it's good enough for Einstein...

Bruce Collier: Albert Einstein said "Never memorise something that you can look up." If you can look something up in a work environment you should be able to look something up in an exam. If your going to do it, it would need to be fair, give every one an identical tablet that has been locked down specifically for that exam.

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