You’re a leaving cert student. You want a maths exam paper from 2007. Here’s what the department of education make you go through to get it online…
An 8 Step Process
- go to examinations.ie
- click on ‘examination papers’.
- tick a checkbox.
- select ‘exam papers’ from a drop down menu.
- select year from a drop down menu.
- select ‘leaving cert’ from another drop down menu.
- select ‘maths’ from a list of subjects in a drop down menu.
- click link to download / view paper.
It’s the same to get a marking scheme. So if i want a maths exam paper and a marking scheme for just one year, it takes about 15 ‘actions’.
It’s just typical
Education is all about the student. Giving them the best possible opportunities & environment to fulfill their potential. It was drilled in to me as a leaving cert student that exam papers and marking schemes were a crucial part of planning and preparation for exams. And they are. So why then does the department of education make it so difficult to get them? That’s a good question.
Back in January i contacted them about this and asked them if i had permission to store & distribute papers on our server. I didn’t get a yes or no answer but more like a “tehnically no because papers include images and articles from third parties and we can’t speak on behalf of them” answer. So all we could / can do is link to their papers.
From then until now i sort of forget about the exam paper section and the ridiculous process you have to go through to get them on examinations.ie. Last week i then sat down and reverse engineered their exam paper & marking scheme structure. So that speeds up the whole process of linking to exam papers, i don’t have to manually tick check boxes and select from drop down menus to get links. So in a head to head battle of ‘how quickly can i get what i’m looking for’ between theleavingcert.com and examinations.ie, examinations.ie be destroyed once we get all exam paper links listed and up to date.
Where are the problem finders?
I’m no usability expert but i was able to spot this problem straight away, in fact i remember discovering it back when i was a leaving cert student myself. If i can shave approx 70% off the time it takes to get exam papers, why the hell can’t someone at examinations.ie do it or whoever is in charge of their web development / maintenance?
The reality is this is a small problem, but it’s incredibly frustrating for users. Worst of all, it could be solved quickly and easily. On examinations.ie where’s the feedback section? Where’s the ‘help us improve our website’ attitude? It’s non existent. Simply having a contact form on a site isn’t good enough. Feedback should be in public, and it should be acknowledged and answered in public.
Because people aren’t complaining doesn’t mean everything is rosey. Complaints should be welcomed, not feared. And it should be easy to complain too…