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Cambridge considers typed exams as handwriting worsens

Sep 10, 2017 by

University launches consultation over concerns students reliant on computers are losing the ability to write by hand

The increasing illegibility of students’ handwriting has prompted Cambridge University to consider ending 800 years of tradition by allowing laptops to replace pen and paper for exams.

Academics say that students are losing the ability to write by hand en masse because of their reliance on laptops in lectures and elsewhere.

Sarah Pearsall, a senior lecturer at Cambridge’s history faculty, said: “Fifteen or 20 years ago, students routinely wrote by hand several hours a day, but now they write virtually nothing by hand except exams.

“As a faculty we have been concerned for years about the declining handwriting problem. There has definitely been a downward trend. It is difficult for both the students and the examiners as it is harder and harder to read these scripts,” she told the Daily Telegraph.

The university has launched a consultation as part of its digital education strategy after piloting an exam typing scheme in the history and classics departments earlier this year.

A similar scheme was implemented for first- and second-year divinity students at Edinburgh University in 2011.

Source: Cambridge considers typed exams as handwriting worsens | Education | The Guardian

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