Exam Options

Assessment Options                    Potential Impact on Student Performance and Well-Being


If you are able to give an alternative assessment as your final exam, consider:
(1) Online alternative low-stakes assignment* (e.g., reflection on course learning) submitted and graded via Canvas for either full points or no points (i.e., only 2 grade possibilities). This equitable practice likely decreases anxiety in all students due to the low-stakes nature (i.e., full points, no points) of the assignment, particularly for those with positive prior experience writing reflections. A well-written reflection prompt may also allow students to demonstrate their learning in a more nuanced way

(2) Online closed or open-book alternative assessment or assignment*
(e.g., Multiple choice exam becomes short answer; change exam to a graded alternative assignment); students submit work using Canvas or Gradescope.

Likely increase or decrease in anxiety based on students’ prior experiences with the type of online alternative assessment or assignment selected. The open-book alternative addresses equitable practice concerns and may be preferred in time of disruption that causes students to experience stress.

(3) Online optional assessment or assignment* All students have the choice to
(A) accept current grade; or 
(B) complete final assessment or assignment for a chance to possibly improve grade.

For lower-performing students: This equitable practice offers lower-performing students the opportunity to improve their final grade in the course. Students could also do more poorly, especially if the instructor chooses options 4, 5 or the closed-book version of option 2.

For higher-performing students: Potential reduction in study workload if they accept current grade; opportunity to focus on classes that they need more time to study for.


If you need to preserve your final exam in its original form, consider:


(4) Online, unproctored exam* (i.e., open book,
open notes)
using Qualtrics or Canvas quizzes
Likely increase in anxiety for students new to the online testing environment. Anxiety
somewhat attenuated by the exam’s open book, open note status. Open book/notes
decrease summative function of the exam, but this issue may be outweighed by the exam’s potential to promote additional learning. This practice is more equitable than 5, below.
(5) Online, proctored exam using Examity
(closed book)

Note: This option is only recommended for
instructors with previous experience giving
online exams and knowledge of virtual proctoring. Support for this option may be limited in the short-term, and instructors may experience wait times for exam set-up.  
Likely increase in anxiety for students new to the online testing environment and compressed
timeline for learning new technology; also, students may lack workspace and/or technology to carry out an uninterrupted, proctored exam. Students may already be experiencing high stress due to public health concerns, and a high stakes exam may exacerbate this, resulting in poor performance.

* Recommend giving students a full 8-hour day to take their exam. Exam should be done in one sitting.