Exam board AQA, Whom we runs exams on their behalf, is planning a transition towards digital GCSE exams, with a proposed start for some subjects as early as 2026.
This initiative is part of a broader move to modernise examinations in accordance with technological advancements and pedagogical approaches.
The plan includes digital mocks from 2025 and, subject to regulatory approval, the actual exams from 2026, starting with the reading and listening components of GCSE Italian and Polish, and expanding to a major subject by 2030.
The digital GCSE exams are expected to reduce teacher workload by enabling automatic marking of formative assessments and providing insights into student progress.
While it should improve the access to exams for private candidates too.
They are anticipated to be more adaptable, inclusive, and environmentally sustainable.
The response from teachers has been largely positive, with digital exams potentially offering more interactive and editable formats, especially beneficial for students with special educational needs and disabilities
However, this transition comes with the need for significant investment in technology and training to ensure equitable access and to prevent the widening of the attainment gap. Tom Middlehurst from the Association of School and College Leaders highlighted the potential of digital exams to offer a more personalised assessment experience but emphasized the necessity of proper resource allocation to support this change
AQA's CEO has underscored the importance of a gradual rollout, learning and adapting along the way, with detailed plans to be announced following a consultation period next year. This phased approach reflects a careful consideration of the complexities involved in such a significant shift in educational assessment.