Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Publishing exam questions in advance

I just finished reading an article in the Times Higher Education in which it is suggested that exam papers should be published in advance to students to cut down on stress. This idea apparently stems from a paper published by the University Mental Health Advisors Network.

Now I hope this is an oversimplification of what the paper actually suggests. Wen taken literally, the suggestion seems rather awkward. Surely just publishing questions in advance would lead to all sorts of problems. Papers are often designed to test only a subset of the curriculum. This is only a valid approach in combination with a moratorium on the questions during learning (otherwise learning would most likely be limited to these questions).

What we need is to move towards more authentic and negotiated assessment, and away from the eternal exam and essay constructions. That is hardly a new notion however, and not really anything to do with disability in particular.

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