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The NSW Education Standards Authority (‘NESA’) was formally established on 1 January 2017 support schools and early childhood services to deliver the best possible outcomes for students and children. It is responsible for high-quality syllabuses, assessment, teaching standards and school environments in NSW schools.

The Challenge

Each year approximately 6,000 students sit HSC oral exams for languages subjects. Of these, about 10% are conducted remotely with students in regional, rural or remote areas. NESA was looking to provide an exam experience for these students that was more closely aligned with the face-to-face experience. In addition, they needed a solution that provided exam security, accessibility, efficiency and scalability of its process.

The Solution

Antares proposed a solution to NESA that leveraged Microsoft Teams to provide an oral exam that felt like the student and examiner were in the same room. After detailed workshops with NESA stakeholders, the requirements included a video connection between the student and the examiner, exam recording ability, and upload functionality to the NESA exam system. The solution was deployed in 2022 with approximately 300 exams. NESA extended its use to 550 exams in 2023.

Antares Solutions developed the solution, which included a configuration web app for exam organisers to set up a new exam. This app allowed for the definition of the student list, dates, and the generation of a queue and invite emails for students. On the day of the exam, examiners could join the assessor web application to confirm the correct student was taking the exam and to join the next exam direction.

After the exam, the recordings are automatically uploaded to the NESA exam marking system. This solution streamlined the internal process, providing an efficient and user-friendly experience for examiners and students.

The Results

The online oral exam solution delivered by Antares helped NESA provide an exam experience that connected examiners and students across NSW. The solution was designed to provide a consistent student experience from the organiser’s and examiners’ perspectives. The solution design and delivery practice allowed NESA to be involved in UI design decisions throughout the process, ensuring that minor changes or new requests could be handled without significantly impacting the project. Microsoft Teams and public cloud services ensured a seamless experience for students and examiners.