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Title: Is it time to ditch the traditional university exam?
Contributor(s): Muldoon, Robyn (author)
Publication Date: 2012
DOI: 10.1080/07294360.2012.680249
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Abstract: A dominant theme emerging from contemporary university assessment literature is the need to enhance student learning through effective formative feedback and the need to improve current practices (Boud & Associates, 2010). However, there is an inherent conservatism in universities towards new or alternative assessment approaches (Chalmers, 2008) and there is general agreement that a serious review of institutional assessment policies is overdue (Duck, Hamilton, & Robb, 2011). Change is now imperative. As students are drawn from a larger variety of social and educational backgrounds (Bradley, Noonan, Nugent, & Scales, 2008) and arrive at university underprepared for institutional expectations (Trotter & Roberts, 2006), traditional approaches to teaching and learning in higher education may not suffice (Hussey & Smith, 2010). Assessment is of particular concern for students with little or no prior exposure to the rules and conventions of higher education (McDowell & Sambell, 2005). Alarmingly, without changes to traditional teaching and learning methods, entrenched patterns of disadvantage are likely to inhibit students' full development (Edwards & Coates, 2011, p. 151). Of particular concern is the traditional university examination. There is a growing body of opinion that the handwritten extended-prose examination is an outmoded assessment type (University of Edinburgh Assessment Futures Task Group, 2011). There is also recognition of the negative or limiting impact of exams on student learning approaches (Havnes, 2004) and on teaching methods (Birenbaum et al., 2006) and also the better quality outcomes associated with coursework assessment tasks (Bridges et al., 2002) and formative feedback, which is of critical importance to student learning and retention (Yorke, 2001, p. 116). Indeed, questions have been raised about the fairness and fitness of exams in the assessment of student learning for many decades (Elton, 2004).
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Higher Education Research and Development, 31(2), p. 263-265
Publisher: Routledge
Place of Publication: United Kingdom
ISSN: 0729-4360
Field of Research (FOR): 130103 Higher Education
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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