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Open Document Software not accepted by UK Edexcel exam board

By lewis.liz ·
Tags: Open Source
This is the first time I have been moved to joining a forum and opening up a debate, but I need to discuss this with interested parties and I hope I can find them here.

I am an ICT teacher in the UK and am bashing my head against a brick wall. Edexcel (one of the major UK exam boards) refuse to accept work which is in Open Document Source format. A chunk of an A* student's work, hours of work, was given 0 marks because it was saved in .ODS format and not .XLS. The moderator could not "open" the file.

Given that back in 2008 BECTA (the former British Educational Communications and Technology Agency, which went into liquidation in April 2011), referred an interoperability complaint against Microsoft to the European Commission (EC) stating "Becta believes that impediments to interoperability limit choice. In the context of the education system this can result in higher prices and a range of other unsatisfactory effects which have a negative impact on wider policy initiatives, including improving educational outcomes, facilitating home school links and addressing the digital divide.” and that more recently, July 2014, the UK government declared that all official office suites must support Open Document Format (ODF), it seems ludicrous that Edexcel are taking this stance.

Numerous emails result in the same political answers, "Learners who produce work towards our IT/Computing qualifications are free to use any approach that allows them to create suitable digital products and applications. In order to award marks we have to ensure this work is accessible by our moderators. Moderators will also expect digital products and applications to be provided in a suitable format that ensures these products are effective. With this in mind, end product must be available in a format that is part of the moderators toolkit for each qualification. Work produced by learners that is not in a format from the moderators toolkit will not attract marks".

Any thoughts - are Edexcel not an an "official suite"?

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So does this crowd specify what Format the work is to be submitted in?

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Open Document Software no ...

If they say on their site or whatever that all work must be submitted in such and such a format then it's pretty well straight forward you submit the work in that form.

Of course if they do not specify then there seems to me at least a Open & Shut Case against them.

Here in AU the Governments used to accept Digital Tenders and they expected them to be in DOC Format thought they never actually specified this anywhere. When Office 2007 became available there where many Tenders submitted Electronically in DOCX Format which could not be opened on the Government Systems because they used Office 2003 and wouldn't install the comparability packs.

Those who's tenders could not be opened and where thus rejected took Legal Action against the Authorities issuing the tenders and won. Now days they specify what Format to submit the Electronic Documents in.

Though here if the Government specified that things should be submitted in a Open Format and a Department doesn't accept this Format than perhaps instead of fighting with the Department you should go straight to the Top and make an Official Complaint and get Political Inaction occurring. While it may have no immediate effect at the very least I think you’ll find that the work can be reexamined if submitted in the correct form. After all it's not much work just opening the document in the program it was created in and instead of clicking on Save you click on Save As and change the format that it is saved in. There should be no need to reenter all the document again provided that the Original File still exists.

Col

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