Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Assignments replacing exams

So far, I'm not a big fan of the situation that Covid-19 has forced us all into replacing end of semester  exams with assignments/projects. Exams designed to assess learning outcomes are not being used, and it has not been easy coming up with replacements in the form of an assignment to to the same thing. Add in the fact that we had to create replacement assessments in a short time, I feel as though this situation is not ideal. But, it is-what-it-is! 

Replacing exams with assignments has an impact for educators grading them. It takes a lot longer! Most students will write between 8 - 12 pages during a two hour exam. Some who perform badly in an exam, may only write a few pages - these scripts take just a few minutes to grade. Very few will write 20/30/40 pages. But this is what I am getting with the replacement assignments - and the time taken to review and grade is very lengthy. This will inevitably put pressure on deadlines for us to get results published. 

No doubt there will be a sector review of assessment. Simply substituting an assignment (which we have had to do for obvious reasons) for an exam is a crude mechanism not designed for assessment. Assessment needs to be carefully planned regardless of whether it is an assignment or an exam. Students should be assured that no matter what mechanism is used, they are being assessed in a fair and sure manner. 

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