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Estonia moves to digitize state exams by 2027

Estonian language state exam.
Estonian language state exam. Source: Olev Kenk/ERR

Estonia's state exams will gradually become electronic by 2027 under new plans drawn up by the Education and Youth Board (HARNO).

Estonian language and foreign language exams will be among the first to be digitized in 2025, followed by high school exams in 2027.

Electronic exams are useful for measuring skills students need for their future workplaces, HARNO said. It will also reduce burdens on teachers.

"We're in the process of paper assessment now — yesterday we had the Estonian language exam and now we have to wait eight weeks before the results come back. Why? Because our good teachers mark the papers. This can be done much faster on the computer," HARNO department head Aimi Püüa told Tuesday's "Aktuaalne kaamera".

But Ene Tannberg, director of Tartu's Miina Härma High School, said this format will not fit every exam, such as math.

"Mathematicians said that in math, [they should] rather not [become electronic], because a math problem can have four or five or six or seven possible solutions, and the student might come up with an eighth," Tannberg told AK. "To what extent can a machine identify all these things?"

She said English language exams could be partially digitized, but the oral section should be carried out with another person.

Both Tannberg and Püüa said the six-hour Estonian language exam does not need to be carried out by hand. However, it was also pointed out that accidental errors can occur on a computer.

"Fingers go in a different order, swaps letters, whatever. There can be mistakes that you might not notice. You wouldn't make them if you were writing by hand," said Tannberg.

Püüa did not rule out using spell check.

"If you're writing a text at work and you make mistakes, we'll let you use a speller. Maybe we'll have a part of the exam where there is also the ability to use a speller, and if the examinee doesn't know that such a thing exists, or doesn't know how to use it, then that's also a sign," said Püüa.

If basic school e-exams are not carried out successfully in 2025, the system will be further developed, she said.

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Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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