Before the Finnish high school (upper secondary school) students matriculate (get their high school diploma) they will take part to the Matriculation Exam. They have to pass the exam at least in four subjects. This exam is the only official national test in their 12 year education. So it is really a high stakes test for them. Starting from autumn 2016 the students will use computers in their Matriculation Exam.
The Matriculation Examination Board
A pdf from the Examination Board
Timetable for the Computerized Matriculation Exam in Finland
|autumn 2016||German language, geography, philosophy|
|spring 2017||French, Social studies, psychology|
|autumn 2017||2nd language Swedish/Finnish, religion, ethics, Health education, History|
|spring 2018||English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Latin, Biology|
|autumn 2018||Finnish (Swedish, Sami), Russian, Physics, Chemistry,|
Digabi is the project to create the computerized matriculation exam. Digabi will produce the computer programs and organize the digitalization. Digabi is part of the Examination Board.
In the spring 2015 Digabi published Abitti. It is a system that will let teachers to make tests for their courses with computers. Abitti is the first version of the final digitalized exam.
In October 2015 Abitti was used in the first field test for all Finnish high schools (upper secondary schools). Over 6000 students took part to the test. The test worked very well.
How it will work
The system is based on Linux based Digabi OS operating system. The teacher creates the exam at a web server (run by Digabi) the answers will be evaluated at the same place too. The teacher downloads and installs Abitti server and the student’s client version to USB memory sticks. Before the test the teacher boots his/her computer (server) with the USB and the students start their computers with the client USB. The student computer finds the server via ethernet/WiFi and students can answer the test questions. The teacher will get the answers to a USB stick and assess the exam.
In the real matriculation examination the teacher server is connected to the Examination Board servers through Internet. WiFi is allowed between school’s server and the students but it will be very hard for the schools to be able to create a secure WiFi system for their exams. So there will be lots of Ethernet cables on the examination rooms. The Abitti system seems to be very secure. If the student tries to hack the system or his/her computer crashes, the system will inform teacher at the server that something has happened.
What is included in the Digabi OS
The exam will use web browser (Iceweasel) to interact with the students. There will be many programs included for the pupils. Right now (autumn 2015) the program list is:
- Texas Instruments TI-Nspire CAS
- Casio ClassPad Manager
All programs are not yet in the Digabi OS, because some non open-source programs need licensing, so it is possible the list will change.
In autumn 2015 field test (Finnish language) included text and video material. Students wrote their essays to a form in a browser. In the future there will be many ways to produce the answer. It will be interesting to see how the mathematical equations will be written to the answer sheets.