To what extent should online exams resemble written exams?

While Electronic Assessment has become a popular means for measuring the progress of students in particular mathematical topics, questions raised include whether examiners are trying to take existing question-types over to electronic formats or whether they are trying to interact with an environment that can ask specific types of question that cannot be asked by traditional means.

It may be tempting to start with a paper that may serve well as a traditional, stapled-A4-presented, human marked exam but electronic assessment can also involve asking fundamentally different questions and even assessing additional learning outcomes or adding existing levels to existing learning outcomes. An example is where students are asked to specify a function with certain properties ; there is not a unique answer and human-marking may require generating a new “marking-scheme” for each attempt with enormous consequences for the time involved.

This talk will consider some assessments carried out in Manchester in recent years both traditionally and electronically and will highlight some of the questions that seem particularly suited to electronic presentation.