Preparation for Examinations II

Dear Content Contributor,

As we are moving toward the end of the 2ndsemester for the the 2014/ 2015 academic session, it is my belief  that we are approaching another assessment period in the University, where we take cognizance of examination questions, quizzes, tests, presentations, etc., which enable lecturers to make judgments about the learning quality of their students. However, the methods of assessment used by lecturers can also have direct impact on the quality of student learning, the lecturer(s) that taught the course and the image of the University at large. According to McKeachie & Svinicki (2006), “Students assume that the focus of exams and assignments should reflect the educational goals mostly valued by a teacher, and they direct their learning and studying”. Now, let us reflect on this question:

“... how can lecturers develop exams that provide useful and relevant data about their students' learning and also direct students to spend their time on the important aspects of a course or course unit?”

Mary E. Piontek, in her published article titled “Best Practices for Designing and Grading Exams”, highlighted the guidelines for designing valid and reliable exams. She submitted that ideally, effective exams have four characteristics. They are:valid (providing useful information about the concepts they were designed to test), reliable(allowing consistent measurement and discriminating between different levels of performance), recognizable (instruction has prepared students for the assessment), and realistic (concerning time and effort required to complete the assignment) Svinicki (1999a). The following six guidelines are designed to help you create such assessments. Read more


 Also, the University of Tasmania Teaching and Learning module enumerates insight into designing examination as follows:


·    Use an exam map (blueprint or matrix) to design an exam.

This ensures that the exam aligns with the unit learning outcomes as well as the time spent on particular concepts and skills (both theoretical and practical). Read more


I will be glad to read your opinion about this subject-matter. You can read our previous tips from HERE


Thank you.

Dr. O. Folorunso

Director, Centre for Innovation and Strategy in Learning and Teaching