Why school exams must be taken with pen and paper

It is rather strange to note that although almost everyone working in Great Britain in an office, shop, warehouse, factory or government building undertakes most of their writing and calculating on a computer, children and students at school are still forced to undertake much of their work, and almost all of their examinations, on paper.

If you ever ask teachers or examination bodies as to why this is so, there is a suggestion that computers will lead to students cheating – for example by accessing the spell checker when writing essays.

And yet within such a view there is very little thought as to why using a spell checker is cheating.  After all, a spell checker is exactly what I am using as I write this, and it is what I use every day in my working life.  So is my working life cheating?  It’s a bit of an odd thought.

The production of homework, classwork and examinations represent a significant use of paper within the UK – there are 29,000 schools and around 7.5 million pupils and students in school at any one time.

On the assumption that the average student will use five pages of paper per school day, this represents around 7 billion sheets of paper a year being used in school.

Fortunately not all of that has to be stored – although some of the exam papers do have to be kept for long periods in order to provide comparisons.  (Incidentally the exam paper themselves work out at around 20 million sheets a year).

But some paper does have to be stored for long periods of time – and you need it to be there when you want it.  You also need to know the temperature is ok, the humidity is right, and that no one else could possibly come across your material and remove it by mistake.

There’s more details about our storage system, where we are, and what we do on our website.

Thanking the gods for a lack of digital technology

I often wonder how long digital copies of legal copies will last, and how many might get lost in system corruptions.

Fortunately the Ancient Egyptians didn’t use digital technology very much and so we still have quite a few of their legal judgements, wills and the like to look at.

And interesting reading they make, although there is sometimes the problem of context.

Consider this simple document in which a wife wins a dispute over her inheritance:

In Year 1, Month 2 of the Summer Season, last day. On this day, the Citizeness Isis complained against the Workman Khaemipet, the Workman Khaemwast, and the Workman Amon-nakht, saying, “Let be given to me the property of Panakht my husband.” Inquiry was made with regard to the opinion of members of the court and they said: “The woman is right.” So she was given the property of her husband; in other words, she was taken for him.

Or another in which a woman asks an oracle to settle a dispute over land:

They disputed again today over payment for the parts of the fields belonging to the Citizeness Ipi which Paneferher, son of Horsiese, her male kinsman, had sold to Ikeni. And they came before the god Hemen of Hefat and Hemen said with regard to the pair of documents: “Ikeni is right. He gave the money to Paneferher at the time. It is finished.” Thus spoke Hemen in the presence of all the witnesses.

These documents (taken from http://www.stoa.org/diotima/anthology/wardtexts.shtml) would probably not be with us without the storage systems of ancient Egypt.  In 2000 or more years, will our documents still be readable?

Maybe – and of course I am not going to say that the Admiral Storage System will be here in 4010 AD – but it will be going for quite a few years, with its system of storage through which your company (but no one else) can access and read the documents when wanted.

There’s more details on our website or give us a call on 0800 783 9516.