The advantages of using exam dividers

More students can sit the exam in one room

Without dividers you must have at least 1.25m between the nearest edges of monitors and this effectively means that only half the computers in a normal classroom can be used. Add in the requirement to have at least one computer available in case of failure and a classroom with 30 computers can only seat 14 students in an examination situation. With dividers it would be possible to use virtually all of the computers so long as students cannot see each other's screens.

Fewer rooms are required

Without dividers you must have at least 1.25m between the nearest edges of monitors and this effectively means that only half the computers in a normal classroom can be used. If, due to the distance between computers being a problem, you have to run each exam with only half of the computers in a classroom then if the students all need to sit the exam at the same time, to avoid possible collusion in the change over, you will need twice as many rooms. With divider screens almost all of the computers can be used.

Exams can be held in fewer sessions

Without dividers you must have at least 1.25m between the nearest edges of monitors and this effectively means that only half the computers in a normal classroom can be used. If you don't have enough rooms to accommodate all of those sitting the exam then you will need to run the same examination for different groups of students one after the other. Using divider screens means you can use more computers that are available in the room even if they are slightly too close together.

Less disruption to lessons and the timetable

If you have to have 1.25m between the monitors and cannot use all of the computers in a classroom then you either have to use more classrooms or run the exam over several sessions. Using more classrooms means the classes who would normally be using those rooms will have to be displaced and looked after in other rooms, probably without specialist equipment. Running the exams over several sessions means that students taking the exam will miss their normal timetabled lessons and you will have the headache of other classes being disrupted.

Fewer staff are required

If you have to use about half the available computers in a classroom then typically a room that has 30 computers would only accommodate 14 for an examination. Where the invigilator to student ratio is 1 to 30 this would require twice the number of invigilators compared to the situation where all of the computers could be used.

Support staff also need to be on hand during online examinations to assist with hardware and software failures. Running fewer sessions means they are not tied up waiting for problems that may not occur.

Lower invigilation costs

If you have to use about half the available computers in a classroom then typically a room that has 30 computers would only accommodate 14 for an examination. Where the invigilator to student ratio is 1 to 30 this would require twice the number of invigilators compared to the situation where all of the computers could be used. Many centres now buy in invigilators so this clearly has a direct cost implication.

They create a formal testing environment

Using exam divider screens to create isolated booths gives students a very clear visual indication that they are doing something formal and important. As most centres will be using their normal computer suites that are also used for teaching purposes it helps to ensure that students respect the different rules that apply during formal external examinations.

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