NCTJ to pilot remote exams in move to innovate and adapt amidst coronavirus pandemic

The National Council for the Training of Journalists will be piloting remote exam sittings in May and June, following a successful two-week testing period.

The NCTJ announced today, in a webinar for heads of journalism and leaders of accredited courses, that it would be using cutting-edge proctoring platform Proctorio to run online Cirrus-based assessments remotely.

All other exams will be run and invigilated remotely using a combination of online platforms.

These online solutions will give students and trainees the option to sit their exams securely from home while preserving the integrity of the NCTJ’s qualifications.

Joanne Butcher, chief executive of the NCTJ, said: “We are determined to protect the reliability and validity of our qualifications. I’m delighted the success of the initial testing period means that for the next two months we can offer many students, trainees and apprentices the opportunity to sit their NCTJ exams at home.

“If this pilot is successful, the option will be extended until the current crisis is over. It may even become a long-term benefit for our national exam candidates and centres in the UK and internationally.

“We appreciate the technology requirements and particular needs and concerns of some candidates mean that this option isn’t suitable for everyone. They will be given priority to sit exams as soon as our centres can accommodate them safely and we have added extra exam dates to our schedule to minimise the delay as much as we can.

“I’d like to thank the project team and our senior examiners for their ongoing commitment and expertise. Although we have the big advantage that most of our exams are already delivered online, it is one of the most demanding, time-sensitive and complex initiatives the NCTJ has undertaken.”

The pilot phase will begin with the first remote exam sitting of journalism for a digital audience on Wednesday, 13 May.

The NCTJ’s priority is to mitigate the impact a delay to exams could have on students and trainees, and has taken the approach to innovate and adapt in order to achieve this.

In 2017 the NCTJ won an international e-assessment award for its online diploma assessments and remains at the forefront of innovation.

The NCTJ will communicate directly with centres, national candidates and other affected stakeholders this week regarding its plans and procedures for the pilot phase.