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View Poll Results: Do you support open book exams?
Yes. 11 91.67%
No. 1 8.33%
Voters: 12. You may not vote on this poll

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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
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Open Book Examinations. - June 10th 2016, 02:31 AM

If I figure out how to make a poll, I shall, but in the meantime, what do you think about the idea of Open Book exams? I did one for Law the other day, and the industry is subjective enough as it is, without this complication. I had some notes with me on the day, but I did not really need them. After the examination, however, it hit me. The markers for the exam are going to be ruthless, because they are going to mark the exam on the assumption that everyone has the answers right in front of them. In some ways, I was going light on my notes out of protest because I hate this idea.

The standard is supposed to be based on language, structure, application and so on, but people get extra marks for case law and legislation. However, if people have a textbook, which I did not buy, then everyone is going to have an immensity of case law and legislation, and the standard subconsciously changes, they have 'raised the bar'. However, all they have to do is copy from a textbook! Open book exams are far too easy, they distort the perceptions and the standards of the marker and they disadvantage old fashioned students.

I do a mathematical degree, I do Accounting. It does not have as much mathematics as I would like but the point is, there is a right answer and a wrong answer. There is also a sense of control, what you write down on paper is what happens. Really, with these sorts of subjects the mark you get depends on whether your marker has had their morning coffee yet. That is bad enough without people masking poor understanding and performance with a spoon feeding.

Anyways, what do you think about open book exams, are they inaccurate, and what have you experience from your open book exams, does the marking change with the fact?

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Re: Open Book Examinations. - June 10th 2016, 03:44 AM

They can be marked harder because the information is technically right in front of you, but you still have to study the book and your notes at least to the extent of marking where the material is and that's assuming you know every single thing that will be included. Not marking your book and/or notes will slow you down considerably. While you're doing that, you're also reviewing by default. Since you're using your book, and looking for answers it can be a disadvantage for people who don't realize this and think they don't have to prepare because they'll have the book open. Then they can run out of time flipping through the book. You should know the material well enough to take at least most of any test without a book in front of you anyway.

I'm not sure what you mean by "old fashioned students", but it's not like you're required to use a concept, or activity that some have had more or less exposure to than others (for example requiring the use of technology could cause a disadvantage for older students) If someone chooses not to use or buy the book then they're choosing a disadvantage (probably for the class in general and not just the test) regardless of the reason why. You can protest all you want, but you're the one it works against.

I'm all for them, because they can be easier, but just like any other test. if you know the material and prepare ahead of time, you shouldn't have any problems.

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Re: Open Book Examinations. - June 10th 2016, 12:46 PM

It really depends on what the test is for and the format of the test as to whether or not I think books should be allowed. If it's a multiple choice test and the answers are in the book then no, I don't think it should be allowed. That defeats the entire purpose of the test, at least for people who can skim pages quickly (like myself). However, if it's a long essay test then I think books (for the class) are okay so you can provide evidence to support your argument. I also don't really like multiple choice tests at all, I'm much more for project based learning.

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Re: Open Book Examinations. - June 10th 2016, 10:13 PM

You still have to search for the answers and when covering a large section this can take a while. And in a lot of cases my professors have wanted us to go a lot farther than just simply writing down an answer and instead have wanted us to expand or apply the concept to a scenario. Or sometimes the concept is not spelled out for you in plain English so it can still be hard to understand and apply on the actual test. I like open books.

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Re: Open Book Examinations. - June 11th 2016, 03:15 AM

I support them. As a nurse, I have access to countless resources. If I am mixing a drug, we have an electronic drug book and we have a drug book in the med room. When I ask a pharmacist a question, they say "give me a minute" and look it up. We have the ACLS cards on the side of the crash cart (we don't need them but just in case). We can download the electronic drug book onto our phones.

When the nursing students take a test, I laugh because first off, we use pumps. Yes, maybe there is a chance we may have to go old skool or what I call "ghetto medic" (because ambulances do not provide pumps 90% of the time). Something really bad would have to happen where we live for that to happen where we don't use pumps.

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Re: Open Book Examinations. - June 13th 2016, 05:12 AM

I have mixed feelings about it. I could never say open books are more easy. There's usually a reason it is open book, there's usually a cache. And it isn't easier, just a different kind of test. One can argue multiple choice questions are easier because the answer is also right in front of you, only there are 3 or 4 other choices too. It is a different skill than essay questions or short answers. Same goes for open book. You get a reference sheet and you have to apply the formula and so on. You also most likely have a time limit so having a textbook and not having studied in advance will bring a lot of trouble for you.

I had a geology lab exam in which we had to identify rocks and name its characteristics. It was open notebook, not open textbook. I did however cut out the special ruler tool from my textbook, and slipped it into a handmade pocket on the inside my notebook. I made sure in advance i knew how to use it. In the notebook I had reference charts. So if I can scratch my fingernail on a rock, I look up that feature and what rock is associated with it. I had to know to try scratching it though. i had to know color, shape, texture and all these things matter and the notebook is just a reference.

That's my take on it. It's like a calculator, really. You need to know how to use the calculator and it doesnt spit out answers (well, it does but not in the way you think) That's why open book tests are NOT easier and it's silly to grade harsher for that.
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