Computer-based examinations: unearthing exam invigilators’ perspectives, tacit work-related knowledge, and skills via reflection-on-experience

Main Article Content

Mark A Minott


The purpose of this small qualitative study is two-fold: first, to show how ‘reflection-on-experience’ enacted through interviews can unearth the tacit work-related knowledge and skills exam invigilators developed on the job and second, to continue redressing the lack of attention given to invigilators in the research literature. To collect data, interviews were conducted. Responses were analysed to reach interpretation and answer research questions.

Interview results revealed participants viewed invigilating computer-based examinations as either ‘easy’ or ‘demanding’. They displayed knowing: the facets or procedures of exam invigilation (timekeeping, giving instructions, rest, or toilet breaks), the characteristics of the students (special educational needs—SEN),  and computer and operational knowledge—such as knowing about a USB stick and deleting a document, and who to call and when in case there is a problem with a computer. Participants also displayed procedural skills (discretely directing students to the toilet and computer-troubleshooting) and intangible skills (mental flexibility, care, and creativity).

This study shows, through a critical discussion of the literature, coupled with the findings that invigilators learn on the job, i.e., they developed work-related knowledge and skills. This knowledge and skills are often implicit or tacit and may remain that way if not given an opportunity, via reflection, to be made explicit.

Article Details

Original Research
Author Biography

Mark A Minott, Independent Researcher, London


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