90% of learners at our onscreen pilot centres wanted their school to offer onscreen assessment for English exams in the future.

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Starting in summer 2023, Pearson Edexcel centres will be able to offer onscreen assessment for their International GCSE English Language A and International GCSE English Literature students.

Underpinned by years of research, a track record of millions of onscreen assessments taken in different forms worldwide, and our successful onscreen pilot of International GCSE exam in 2022, this exciting development:

  • offers the opportunity for a more engaging, personalised assessment experience
  • supports accessibility and inclusion for all students, especially those with SEND
  • harnesses technology that builds on the digital skills learners already have and will use in future study and the world of work
  • delivers a consistent and fully supported exam experience, aligning with our tried-and-tested mocks service platform.

I’d like to offer onscreen assessment from summer 2023

Let us know if you’re planning to offer onscreen assessment for our International GCSE English Language and English Literature specifications. Our team will be in touch to support you and your students.

Contact us

Want to know more?

Contact us if you’d like to learn more about onscreen assessment for our International GCSE English Language A and English Literature specifications. We’ll be in touch with everything you need to explore if this is the best option for you and your students.

Contact us

In the meantime, you can also take a look at our onscreen assessment homepage, where you can learn more about our work and our focus on choosing where and how we best use technology to positively impact assessments and the lives of learners.

Learn more about our International GCSE English Language A specification

Learn more about our International GCSE English Literature specification

Frequently asked questions

General

In preparation for the final onscreen examination, there is opportunity for students to sit onscreen mock exams. These will be available for International GCSE English Language A and International GCSE English Literature.

In the first year your centre delivers onscreen assessment for a qualification, we are excited to be able to offer one free Pearson-marked onscreen mock, included in the entry fee for that first cohort of learners. Should your centre decide to enter students for further onscreen mocks in this first year, or in following years, this will be a paid-for service.

The mock opportunities will give your students a chance to experience using the platform to respond to questions under an exam-style scenario. This not only allows them to become familiar with item types, the layout of the onscreen assessment and how to use onscreen tools but also gives them a chance to see how much they enjoy the experience and how it benefits them responding to assessment style questions without the pressure of it being a high-stakes final assessment.

This will help to prepare them for what the onscreen exam experience will be like and give them confidence in the use of the platform.

We will welcome feedback from your centre after sitting mock exams and the final onscreen assessment. This is likely to take the form of completing a survey sent out by Pearson and then a possible online follow-up with a member of our onscreen team to dig a little deeper into your responses.

Your feedback is vital throughout the process so that we can get insight into your students’ experience and will play an important role in the development of our exciting onscreen assessment offer. It’s important to us that the onscreen experience is as intuitive and enjoyable for students as possible.

The onscreen mock exams will provide your students with invaluable preparation for the final onscreen assessments and our expectation is that centres who register their interest will enter their students for the onscreen exams. There may be exceptions to this, and where this is the case, we hope to be in communication with centres to understand any concerns they might have about taking the final assessment onscreen.

Accessing the Sample Assessment Materials is easy and teachers and students can follow the below process to try out our onscreen platform:

Click on this link > Click on “Don’t have an account” > Enter your email address as your UserID > Wait for an automatic email to confirm your email address > Proceed to log in.

Mock exams

The mock service will give your students a chance to sit a past paper onscreen, and have it marked by our expert marking team.

This is a paid-for service. However, for any centre who is using the mock service for the first time for the purpose of sitting a high-stakes onscreen assessment, we will provide your first mock for free. Learn more about the Pearson Mocks Service.

Centres can sit their mock exams at any time that suits them on their chosen date. There are no specific start times for mock exams.

The onscreen mock exams will provide your students with invaluable preparation for the final onscreen assessments and our expectation is that centres who register their interest will enter their students for the onscreen exams. There may be exceptions to this, and where this is the case, we hope to be in communication with centres to understand any concerns they might have about taking the final assessment onscreen.

Accessing the Sample Assessment Materials is easy, and teachers and students can follow the below process to try out our onscreen platform:

Click on this link > Click on “Don’t have an account” > Enter your email address as your UserID > Wait for an automatic email to confirm your email address > Proceed to log in.

Technology requirements

Technology requirements: onscreen assessment is a highly secure, browser-based system. It is compatible and tested with multiple browsers and operating systems. No additional install is required if only using the assessment player and related functionality. Onscreen assessment is compatible with Chrome for Windows, MAC OS, iOS, Android and Chrome OS; it’s also compatible for Firefox (latest stable version) for Windows and Android; for Safari (versions 10, 11, 12 and 13) for MAC OS and iOS; and for Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge (latest stable version) on Windows. Additional requirements may be required if extra features are used (i.e. secure browsers). Student laptops can be used if they meet the technology requirements.

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Windows and Mac devices can be centre- or candidate-owned. However, we are only supporting centre-owned Chromebooks at this time.

In addition, for the onscreen assessments you must install our secure browser prior to the exam and run it on the day. This will prevent the device from accessing the wider internet or other applications during the exam. For Chromebooks, you do not need to download the secure browser, but you must have them set up in Kiosk-mode for the final exam. This is not a requirement for running your mock exam, but we do recommend trialing the secure browser in at least one of your mocks so that you have experience of the set-up prior to the exam day.

Centres will be able to use computers and laptops to sit their mock and onscreen assessments. Windows and Mac devices can be centre- or candidate-owned devices, as long as they meet the requirements below.

Chromebooks must be centre-owned as we do not currently support the use of candidate-owned Chromebooks.

All devices must run supported operating systems and the device must still be able to receive and install updates. For example, a device that is not able to download software any newer than Microsoft Windows 7 would not be able to be used as it is no longer supported by Microsoft, as they have transitioned to Windows 8, 9, 10 and 11.

Tablets cannot be used to sit mock and onscreen assessments at this time.

Final onscreen exam

At this time, we are launching onscreen assessments for International GCSE English Language A (4EA1) and International GCSE English Literature (4ET1).

The onscreen invigilation ratio for onscreen is different from the invigilation ratio for paper-based exams and is one invigilator per 20 students (as opposed to one invigilator per 30 students).

Each work station must be isolated by a minimum space of 1.25 metres measured from the nearest outer edge of one screen to the next, unless the monitors are positioned back-to-back or separated by dividers or protected by privacy screens.

Appropriate steps must be taken to ensure that this can be achieved. The diagram below indicates how centres may wish to organise the exam space.

Computer suite set-up in test centres

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The texts for the 4EA1 exams are presented onscreen where students can use onscreen annotation tools. These include highlighting, sticky notes and the onscreen notepad function during their planning and as they respond to the questions. (See this short video for more information about these onscreen features).

There are several other tools available within the platform, including the zoom function and colour filters, which allow learners to enhance their onscreen experience and to customise their use of the onscreen platform.

The onscreen Sample Assessment Materials and mocks allow learners to familiarise themselves with the onscreen features and be confident in the digital experience, ahead of the final assessment.

Printed copies of the Literature Anthology will be provided for the onscreen exam, as with the paper-based exam.

Printed copies of the Literature Anthology will not be provided for onscreen Mock exams.

Learners may not take notes into the examination room.

However, they can be provided with blank paper in the exam, should they wish to take notes by hand. Please be aware that these notes will not be marked.

Any extra time requirements for candidates should be applied for ahead of the exam through the normal route via the Pearson Access Arrangements online tool, accessible via Edexcel Online (EOL).

Qualification questions

At this time, we are launching the onscreen assessment for International GCSE English Language A (4EA1) and International GCSE English Literature (4ET1).

Yes - centres who offer the coursework pathway for International GCSE English Language A and International GCSE English Literature can still register for onscreen assessment. Students will sit paper 1 onscreen but will continue to complete and submit the coursework component as normal.

Both paper-based and onscreen will follow the normal awarding process. Measures will be in place to ensure fairness and consistency so that no student is advantaged or disadvantaged as a result of the medium they choose to take the exam.

We understand that centres will have different circumstances. While we expect that many centres will be keen for all students to enter for onscreen assessment, others may choose to split their entry between paper-based and onscreen assessment. A reminder that the mock service will be free of charge only for those learners entered for onscreen assessment.