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Sarah James - Gordano School

Examinations Manager

ExamsAssist has enhanced our Exams Process from start to finish. We are a large school 2,000+ students with post 16 provision, managing multiple qualifications with multiple access arrangements. The software has helped to streamline the process from allocating invigilators, managing changes to seating/room allocations and controlling attendance. As an Exams Officer it enables me to have a view of all the exam rooms from their attendance, late arrivals, papers and access arrangements within that room, the invigilators present and when the exam has actually started and finished - all from a central location. The system keeps logs of rest breaks / toilet breaks or any other incidents that need to be reported.

The system is constantly growing to meet the needs of the roles of an Exams Officer, and the team are brilliant at responding to any queries. I would highly recommend and would definitely not be without it!

Katharine Howard - Bower Park Academy

Exams and Data Officer

I first became aware of ExamsAssist/SchoolWorkSpace on Facebook. It looked interesting and I subsequently signed up for a trial. I was a little apprehensive at using it straight away with the actual exams so I tried it out myself before passing on to my invigilators as I was so impressed with the capability of registering students via the app.

In our school I have always labelled the candidate desks with name, candidate number and exam paper details to ensure all the candidates know where they are sitting and to assist invigilators when placing papers on exam desks. From being such a long job exporting data from our MIS it’s been a joy to generate the desk labels in ExamsAssist. I had a small problem with the margins fitting on my sheets of labels and within a very short space of time (we are talking overnight) the label set up had been amended for me! I am so impressed. The ExamsAssist attendance registers are also much clearer than those in our school MIS.

As soon as you ask a question you get a response. Any suggestions received were acted upon.

Almost every day there seemed to be a new improvement from being able to record supervised rest breaks, toilet breaks, suspected malpractice and special considerations. My invigilators got to grips with it fairly easily once I had shown them how easy it was to use. When the attendance data was then available to sync to Sims for AM and PM registration it was even better and our Attendance Officer was very happy. SLT were also very impressed that I could type in a candidate name to see where they should be sitting or type in a seat no. to see who should be sitting there. When we had our JCQ Inspection I showed the app with the capabilities to them and they too were impressed.

I really liked the section on absent candidates to double check attendance and criteria for special consideration submissions. I could hover over the comments box and see what had been typed in, i.e. student taken ill couldn’t complete exam, student absent due to bereavement and other comments.

I printed the daily noticeboard for my invigilators so they could see time, duration, room, exam, no. of candidates and access arrangements. I can see at a glance on Started and Absence how many students are in attendance, how many late and how many absent.

I can safely say that ExamsAssist gives us everything we needed which has been missing from our MIS for many years now. I have been singing its praises to anyone who will listen.

Looking forward to many more improvements over the coming year and well done!

Tracey Morgan – Suffolk One

Manager of Examinations and Management Information Services (MIS)

We are a large P16 ‘Outstanding’ college with over 2000 students studying A Level/L3 and L2 vocational and a few GCSE and Functional Skills. The initial attraction to Exams Assist was to schedule our invigilators which was always a mammoth task for which we had tried various methods over the years, but still extremely time consuming – using Exams Assist made this process so streamline and efficient.

Then we started seeing all the other uses of the system during our exam season and trialled what we could, often asking for more and the developers giving it to us – for example we are a centre that uses domestic seasons alongside our main summer season for some of our vocational exams which are ad-hoc, so we asked and we got the availability to have (we had 5 at one stage) multiple exam seasons operating at once, giving us the same function for all.

Our main administrator for supporting students with readers or scribes used it to schedule his support staff when exams were taking place, again a task that previously was very manual and time consuming.

The ability to save paper and not print registers for all our many rooms is great for the planet; to be able to sit at my desk and see absent students and when exams have started and finished is also a huge positive in my mind. My two administrators used and loved it and we are still learning about many of its other functions. Basically, we could not live without it now. Thank you.

Maureen Davies – Queen Elizabeth High School

Lead Invigilator

I have been an invigilator at QEHS for few years. This year the Exams Manger introduced ‘Exams Assist’ to me early on in the run up to the Summer Exams Season and explained the background of why and when this system would be used and exactly how the system worked from an invigilators viewpoint.

Invigilators were able to provide their availability via the system, once allocated we were given advanced knowledge of our schedule, so everyone knew where they were and that was appreciated by us all in the invigilator team. What was most helpful was the ability to use real time seating plans on our smart phones which helped with the laying up the exam rooms as it was easy and clear to read.

The attendance registers that were developed during the exam season were fit for purpose and invigilators with little or no experience of smart phones quickly mastered the system, and everyone made sure that the system was used to:

  1. Record those who were in attendance, absent or late. The absentees could be quickly contacted by admin staff and the responses were visible to us on our device. There were a variety of ways for the invigilators to complete the registers electronically either via the attendance register, seating plan or even the QR code printed on each candidate card.

  2. The ability to Start and End the exam on the smart device was a brilliant addition as it took away the possibility of “human error” while calculating the end times to be written on the Whiteboard. There was no more need to calculate times for the extra time candidates as this system would work it all out based on the start time.

  3. The ability to Record SRB’s and Toilet breaks. It was interesting to see a pattern of behaviour and as I was in the same hall the whole of the exam season there was a “select” number of students that needed toilet breaks more than others.

  4. The “search” button proved very useful in tracking down where a candidate should be if they turned up in the “wrong” exam room.

What was great was the ability to provide feedback to the Exams Manager, this was feedback to the company and these would be actioned within a few days - such as putting icons on the component cards and the seating plans to ensure that all candidates requirements were easily identifiable to all invigilators/staff.

All in all I think the Exams Assist Software is an excellent management tool as it provides valuable information to a variety of staff members within the school - I think this module will be a great asset to any school to assist staff to have a system that integrates existing systems and helps everyone to work smarter.

Kelly Yamazaki - Queen Elizabeth High School

Attendance officer

I have been the attendance officer at QEHS for a number of years. The process for completing the attendance registers for both internal and external exams was always a challenge for us as I’d imagine it is for any schools. During this year the Exams Manager introduced a new system which made this a very simple, but extremely quick to do.

What I liked about this system is the ability to see in real-time the pupils that were absent from an exam, being able to select the pupil to view pupil details was also a great bonus. As an attendance officer being able to see what rooms have exams in and what pupils are in each is great if I need to locate any pupils, this was never possible previously.

Once the exam had started, I was shocked at how simple it was to write this data back to either AM or PM session in SIMS; in two clicks this task was done. There was no need to collect paper registers etc it was all on my screen, I was able to complete the registers in SIMS for all exams in less than 2min, that was so impressive.

It was also a great benefit for internal exams as we were able to compare the exam attendance against the session attendance. This helped to track if pupils needed to be chased or not as if they were in school but not in the exam, they needed to be located but if they weren't in school and not in the exam then no need to chase, this again saved me time during the mock exams.

Overall, Exams Assist is a great and powerful tool and for the amount I used as the Attendance Officer. I can honestly say this solution really saved me time, and as every Attendance Officer knows every minute is precious in a busy school.