No academical exercise can be more useful than that of examination.
It whets the desire for learning; it enhances the solicitude of study while it animates the attention of whatever is taught.
Philip Melancthon, De Studs Adolescentum, fifteenth century
Exams, and in particular exams that count for 50% of GPA, can be considered a ‘high stakes’ assessment. Gordon Joughlin (2010) noted that there is a widespread, longstanding, and deeply held belief in higher education circles that high stakes exams drive student learning.
When used judiciously, exams may be stressful, but have the potential to improve learning (eg. see Van Bergen and Lane, 2014). Overall, the effectiveness of exams compared to other assessment methods is mixed, so the recommendation is normally to mix assessments in such a manner that assessment aligns to the intended outcomes of the course.
Implementing e-Exams for high stakes assessment
A consortium of nine Australian universities led by Monash are collaborating on an e-Exam platform project, funded by an Australian Government Department of Education and Training grant. Associate Professor Shona Leitch represents RMIT.
The project aims to transform exams, as summarised in it’s ‘road map’ – http://transformingexams.com/files/e-exam_pedagogical_implementation_roadmap.pdf
The http://transformingexams.com/ website provides a range of resources elaborating on e-Exams.
- Joughin, Gordon (May 2010) The hidden curriculum revisited: a critical review of research into the influence of summative assessment on learning. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education. Vol. 35, No. 3, 335–345 business.uwa.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0012/1888599/Joughin.pdf
- Rowntree, Derek 1987, Assessing Students: How Shall We Know Them? https://www.amazon.com/Assessing-Students-Shall-Know-Them/dp/1850913005
- Van Bergen, P. and Lane, R. (19 Dec 2014) Exams might be stressful, but they improve learning https://theconversation.com/exams-might-be-stressful-but-they-improve-learning-35614