Exam Board Thinks Google Searches Should Be Allowed During School Exams

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The head of a British exam board has said that students should be allowed Internet access – including the ability to carry out Google searches – during exams. The head of the OCR school examinations board Mark Dawe told the BBC’s Today program that this would accurately reflect the way they would work after leaving school.

“It is more about understanding what results you’re seeing rather than keeping all of that knowledge in your head, because that’s not how the modern world works,” said Dawe.

He compared the idea to the debate about whether to have books available during a test, saying: “In reality you didn’t have too much time [to consult the book] and you had to learn it anyway.”

The Oxford, Cambridge & RSA board’s chief said that while permitting Internet access during exams would not happen in the next weeks or months, it was “inevitable” at some stage

So, what exactly would they be testing? The ability to effectively conduct Google searches? We’ve come a long way from those blue paper essay books, haven’t we? While there’s nothing wrong with teaching kids to find information on the internet — in fact it’s an essential skill in this day and age — shouldn’t we be  teaching kids some actual content and expecting students to retain some knowledge of the subjects they’ve been taught? What’s the point of having teachers if Google has all the answers? Or are we heading into some brave new world where we’ll wipe our mental hard drives clean and rely on the cloud to do all of our thinking for us?

What do you think? Should students be allowed to conduct Google searches during exams? And how about those open-book tests that have become so popular in recent years?