Just Google it – Using Google in Exams

May 6, 2015 Published by

Chief executive of exam board suggests pupils should be able to use Google in exams



Student counting by using his fingers

Mark Dawe, Chief Executive of the OCR exam board, has recently suggested that pupils sitting their GCSEs and A Levels should be allowed to use Google in their exams. This has been snubbed by Chris McGowan (Campaign for Real Education) who claims that the idea would be “dumbing down” the education system, and argues that “learning is about keeping information in your head”.


Over recent years there has been an increasing emphasis on children learning practical skills that can be applied in the workplace. At Fundamentally Children we talk a lot about encouraging children to learn through experience. It is important that children are allowed to experiment and explore the world using a hands-on approach, rather than just memorising reams of information.


Dawe believes that children would benefit from being able to utilise the online search tool. Google doesn’t simply present you with answers, but with large amounts of information – not all of it useful or accurate. Being able to identify key information, with an understanding that the source of the information can affect its validity, are useful skills for children to have.



Girl using iPhone during class

It is also good for children to be able to think about and interpret information. We have discussed helping children to develop critical thinking skills in a previous article. The ability to understand and use information is becoming increasingly recognised as a valuable skill. Most people use Google at work or for further study, so if exams are about preparing children for these it makes sense for children to learn how to use Google.


Dawe says that introducing the use of Google in exams is inevitable, and we can see why. In the modern age, children need to be able to effectively use the available technology. Open book exams are already common in a number of subjects and so is the ability to google in an exam just a natural evolution of this type of exam?

What do you think of Dawe’s comments? Are you For or Against Students using Google in Exams? Let us know below!


Photo Credit (2): Intel Free Press

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This post was written by Anna Taylor

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