Newcastle University expands digital exam system

Institution signs £645k deal with specialist firm Inspera

Credit: Sarah Cossom/CC BY-SA 3.0

Newcastle University plans to expand its use of digital exams, including offering an increased array of tests and allowing students to sit assessments on their personal devices.

The institution has awarded a five-year contract to specialist firm Inspera, which will help “support the provision of authentic summative assessments in a secure digital environment”.

Prior to coronavirus, Newcastle hosted about 140 digital exams on campus each year, involving a total of about 20,000 students. The largest individual sitting was of 400 students.

During the upcoming academic year, the university expects these figures “to return to a similar level”.

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“Demand for on-campus digital exams exceeds the scale of existing provision, and increasing both capability and capacity is a strategic priority,” it added. “The university’s ambition is to expand the scale of on campus digital exam provision using a combination of delivery on university-owned PCs and student’s own devices, alongside diversifying the types of online assessment that can be delivered in a secure exam setting.”

Between now and 2026, Inspera will be asked to provide a platform that can be used on-site by all of the university’s 28,000 students and 5,500 staff – including those at its satellite campuses in Malaysia and Singapore.

During the bidding process, the university sought tenders from suppliers that could deliver an “existing off-the-shelf solution, deployed in an educational institutions of comparable size and scale” to that which is required by Newcastle.


Sam Trendall

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