Testing is a big topic of discussion right now. Delivery of our courses remotely will continue into the fall, and with that testing will also continue to be done online. It’s worth the time to look at your course materials and the learning outcome to see if a test is the most appropriate method of assessment.
If possible, replacing a test with another assessment is a way to address concerns with academic misconduct and unauthorized collaboration in an environment where controls are not as strict as they have been in the past.
Some courses will still need a test, based on the subject matter or the learning outcomes. In that case, it is worth have a look at the questions and type of exam to see how it can be adjusted. The way that we are currently teaching and delivering testing lends itself well to open book testing.
Open book questions call on students to apply materials, not just copy from the course materials or repeat something found in the textbook. Open book questions can really challenge students to think about what they have learned, how they understand it, and how the information is applied in the real world.
Even for closed book tests, asking questions that students can flip to in course materials are not the best right now. Multiple choice questions that challenge students to demonstrate an understanding, not a repetition, of materials is ideal for our situation.
If you are using a test bank, take the time to make adjustments to it. Chances are the test bank you are using is on a website somewhere and students will just search for it. Take the time to change names or items in the question so that students do not just copy it into a search engine. For example, if the test bank says “Sally sells apples”, change it to “Manjeet sells pens”. The application of the idea doesn’t change, but it deters students from copying answers.
PACE is mandating the use of a test bank starting this fall. We will work with instructors to set this up; in short it requires that tests have a bank of a minimum of 1.5x the number of questions individual students will see so that the tests can be randomized.
Take the time to think about the use of tests, and the questions, to ensure that academic rigor is maintained.
After posting this, I had this shared with me. It is a great visual of the question of testing in the current setting: