This seven and a half minute video clip demonstrates a two-stage midterm exam being taken by 300 students.
WHEN WATCHING THIS 07:32 min. VIDEO, look for…
Students: how they behave during the exam:
- All 300 students know what is happening and how to conduct the solo and group parts efficiently. This happens when group work is “normal” during all aspects of the course.
- Ad hoc groups work fine in this high stakes setting. Even students who go to the front to find (or be placed in) groups are active in groups quickly and efficiently.
- Only a few “quite” students are less engaged during group discussions.
Aspects of logistics to notice include:
- Setting up without students present is more efficient than handing out test papers as they drift into class.
- Alternate versions in adjacent seats helps prevent cheating.
- Clear concise instructions to teaching assistants prior to letting students in will help all staff remember what to expect.
- Students start solo exam as soon as they are seated. Only extremely brief instructions with the microphone are needed.
- Notice the use of projectors to show timing and illustrate key aspects of filling in forms.
- “Helping” is restricted to clarifying wording of questions. This is not tutoring – this is an exam.
- Transitioning between solo and group exam: pass finished solo papers along rows for rapid collection. Some students invariably try to continue working. Be firm and just pick those papers up.
- Hand out group exam papers ONLY when students raise hands saying they have formed a group of four. This is (a) quicker, and (b) leaves you, the instructor, in control of group size.
- Instructions for the group part are outlined BEFORE telling everyone to start getting into groups. The noise will make it difficult to provide instructions after groups are formed.
- Worry less about “cheating” during group work. The whole point is to engage discussion and corresponding feedback about learning.
- Provide “5-minute” warnings before requiring collection of final group exam papers.
- Awarding about 85% to solo score and 15% to group score seems to be the right balance between evaluative assessment and incentive to improve group scores.