University of British Columbia (CANADA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 3630-3637
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Most students are passive learners. Most students are not used to active engagement in the classroom, especially in large lecture halls. At the same time, studies have shown that engaged students learn more and are more positive towards their education and learning. In the 2009 summer session at the University of British Columbia, two-stage exams were administered in two different courses to promote student learning and participation. The idea of a two-stage cooperative exam is that students take the same exam twice during an extended period of time but in different settings. These settings are individual in the beginning, then working in pairs, or collaboratively in a larger group. The goal is to turn these testing sessions into a positive learning experience.

During the first 60 minutes of the midterm period, the students take an exam individually. They hand in their exam papers at the end of the session. Then right away, they are given the same exam and are asked to work on it collaboratively with two or three other students for another 30 minutes. The final grade of the exam is calculated based on a weighted average (75%) of the first individual submission and 25% of the second group submission of the exam. However, if this grade is less than the grade in the first submission (i.e. from the solo effort alone), then the final score of this exam is based solely on the first individual submission.

With this simple change in exam format, students are found to be actively engaged in discussions much more during the group midterm exam than in other classroom activities. This paper will report the experience of this type of learning from the faculty and student perspectives, and how the results of two-stage exam which was conducted for the midterm correlates with the results of the final exam.

two-stage exam, learning, assessment, midterm.