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SQA News 13 June 2024

2024-25 Update on the use of ICT in SQA exams

We have carried out extensive research with centres across Scotland to understand how ICT devices (including Chromebook and Apple devices) are being used in teaching, learning and assessments, and the benefits and barriers experienced. Research has highlighted that learners have increasingly been using Chromebook and Apple devices in learning and teaching. These devices require an internet connection to operate, and centres were not confident these could be secured and meet current ICT security requirements. Therefore, a bank of Windows devices have been retained by centres for use in external exams.

We will be amending our ICT security requirements to allow Apple and Chromebook devices to be used in external exams, provided that the restricted internet connection is only used to enable the operation of the device. Learners must not access the internet for externally assessed exams that are completed under a high degree of supervision and control. All other functions (such as network drives, Bluetooth, thesaurus, predictive text and generative AI functionality) and access to personal files and folders detailed in our ICT Security Checklist must also be followed. You can find the ICT Security Checklist on our Secure site.

You must ensure that the type of device chosen will be suitable for the assessment being undertaken, such as where use of ICT, peripherals and suitable software are required to allow the learner to demonstrate the skills, knowledge and understanding being assessed. There is no change to the ICT requirements or the conditions of assessment for these courses. You are expected to ensure that any devices used, including any classroom management software, will comply with best practices and have been security hardened to the appropriate levels.