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17th February 2016

On-screen assessment widened the gap between boys’ and girls’ maths scores by the equivalent of two months’ progress in two-thirds of the countries which took part in PISA, research suggests.

Students from some countries also tended to do better overall in the on-screen tests, this included those from the USA, while others such as China, Shanghai, did less well than in the paper tests.

The study by Dr John Jerrim, of the UCL Institute of Education, showed that pupils from a third of the participating regions achieved significantly lower results when tested on the computer than they had in the paper assessment. In Taipei, for example, one in 20 achieved the highest grade in the on-screen assessment, compared with one in five in the paper test.

The computer based tests also seemed to have a levelling effect – closing the gap in performance of those from the richest and poorest backgrounds.

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