Exams & Assessments

We recognize that redesigning and administering examinations remotely is an area of special concern for many instructors. To assist in this work, Notre Dame Learning offered the workshop Exam (Assessment) Redesign and Online Administration. You can also access the schedule of workshops and open office hours and materials from other workshops.

The Faculty Task Force has reviewed available online-proctoring software solutions, including their technical implementation and resource impact. These solutions are not a feasible option to deploy in the Spring 2020 semester.

More detailed policy guidance on Final Exams will be posted here as it develops.

Redesigning any assessment for remote administration should begin with a reaffirmation of the principles of academic integrity outlined here. It is very difficult to recreate a closed-book proctored exam environment from a distance, so we recommend alternative strategies that solicit analysis and application. Please consider providing additional time to manage preparation and submission, without expanding the normative time of the redesigned assessment itself.

Revisit your learning goals and how can you most effectively assess students’ progress in the online environment? Will your traditional exam/assessment method be the most effective way to encourage persistent knowledge, analytical thinking, and application? If not, see below for ideas and examples for assessment redesign and alternative administration methods.

Strategies

As you consider how to create assessments that contribute to and measure your students’ progress towards meeting your learning goals, we offer the following examples to help inspire your redesign:

  • Redesign your current exam as an open-resource assessment, altering assessment goals towards analysis and application.
  • Use publishers’ online homework systems to generate a randomized array of questions. Some major publishers have made their online platforms free during this crisis. Check here to find out if your publisher has made these tools open-access.
  • Convert a traditional written essay exam (50 or 75 minutes)  into a timed take-home exam (24 hours), redesigning questions to favor deeper analysis of unique cases or problems.
  • Offer frequent “low-stakes” assessments, interleaving current and recent topics to encourage “sticky learning.”
  • 1:1 Oral exams via Zoom, recorded individual presentations, portfolios, integrative reflections, live programming challenges, 
  • Exam Support & Visual Proctoring via Zoom. Have your students complete an online or traditional paper and pencil exam while logged in to a Zoom session with video on.
    • As with all technology solutions, have a practice session prior to the high-stakes event. In this case, have students log in to a Zoom session with video on and practice a private chat so that you and they can confirm that everything is working as expected.
    • During the exam:
      • Have students use the Private Chat channel to ask questions
      • You or a TA can serve as a proctor by observing the student video streams. For large classes, students can be assigned to breakout rooms and a support/proctor person can be in each breakout. Students' who don't have functioning webcams should not be penalized for lack of access to technology.
      • For paper and pencil exams, have students scan/photograph their paper and send their answers to you during the proctored session or upload it to Sakai using assignments when they finish. If you decide to do this please be sure to make it part of your practice session.
      • N.b. Some students won’t have printers in their homes so accessing the exam on the screen should be possible. This presupposes good connectivity as well as an app to scan to PDF, Scannable for iPhone or Genius Scan for Android.  Please be sensitive to student context and provide very specific recommendations and extra time.

Strategies that assume prior experience with Sakai, Gradescope or other technologies.

  • Use Sakai to deliver a timed open-resource exam with randomized questions (presumes reasonable experience with Sakai). Partial credit for worked problems can be given by allowing students to upload their scratch paper after completing the exam.
  • Use Gradescope to collect and grade exams. Given the complex setup and grading process, this is only recommended for those with experience using Gradescope or who have been identified by their deans as teaching courses that would benefit greatly. It also requires students to scan and submit work.  N.b. Some students won’t have printers in their homes so accessing the exam on the screen should be possible. This presupposes good connectivity as well as an app to scan to PDF, Scannable for iPhone or Genius Scan for Android. Please be sensitive to student context and provide very specific recommendations and extra time. Common Resources for Large Classes used in the College of Science

We invite you to join us for online workshops devoted to assessment strategies; See the schedule or access a recording.