Obergericht of Bern - The Digital Bar Exam
Background and Problem Definition
The bar exams of the Swiss Canton of Bern include an oral and a written examination. During the course of the written examinations, the candidates complete a six-to-eight-hour examination three times within one week, during which they prepare a legal record with a view to a given situation. Several hours of handwritten writing represents an increasing burden for the examinees in these times of digitalization, since this activity is no longer trained in everyday life. Furthermore, handwritten papers are nowadays, in most cases, not part of the future career path of a lawyer or a judge.
Last but not least, due to the increasing requests from candidates, the Lawyers’ Examination Board of the Obergericht in Bern has decided to have all written tests on computers for a one-and-a-half-year pilot phase. As such, the Obergericht was looking for an experienced vendor to provide a complete solution consisting of e-assessment software and mobile assessment hardware. Furthermore, the provider had to guarantee a secure, mobile testing process with a sample of 100 candidates including on-site technical support.
After evaluating different solutions and testing out several providers, the High Court of Bern settled on the company called IQUL. The first digital exam was in October 2016. The examinations were carried out in the multi-purpose hall, which had previously been used for the manual tests. Thanks to the mobile test server and the Q-Exam WLAN infrastructure, the test room was set up within a few hours. For the examinations, the candidates could choose between a German and a French user interface and the court was able to examine thousands of pages of digital exam solutions during that examination week.
At the end of the first exam week, the Obergericht and the students summarized the successful pilot tests very positively. "With IQUL, w found a very competent partner for our test projects," said Danièle Wüthrich-Meyer, President of the Lawyers' Examination Board. "We appreciate the smooth and trouble-free operation of the examination." The test candidates also came to a positive conclusion of the project. "We are very grateful to the Obergericht of Bern now that we can finally revise our written work easily and with a clearer structure." As part of the feedback the participants felt that the electronic examination format is much closer to their future everyday work.
E-Assessment at Obergericht Bern