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Adding an Oral Component for Finals

Oral Component for Virtual Finals!

Submitted by Kim Donaldson

Adding an Oral Component for Finals

How are you staying afloat this year?

The change I made was to incorporate oral assessment components for final exams.

Academic integrity has been a huge issue in this new virtual/online environment. Teacher resources associated with publisher test tools have been compromised almost as soon as they are made available. Even our original assessments are shared on “cheat sites” almost immediately after being distributed, making them usable only once before having to be changed again. I began using oral assessments as part of my testing process in an effort to combat this.

I started preparing students for answering oral questions through scheduled activity classes each week. When the time came for the assessment, I split the test in half: 50% of the questions were randomly generated multiple-choice questions using the publisher’s test bank.

This multiple-choice part of the test was timed and available to students during a specified window. For the oral assessment, students chose their preferred appointment time via Doodle Poll.

Each 15-minute appointment had a student answering three random questions from three chapters covered during the assessment time period. The students would choose two of the three chapters to focus on and would be required to answer questions as provided by the professor. Cameras had to be turned on – no notes were permitted to be used. Each question had layered components that would include definition, example, and application components to it. I used a combination of publisher tools and my own question bank based on questions from in-class discussions, lecture slides, and in-class activities.

This was a lot of work to set up, but a breeze to mark! I used a combination of marking guides in Moodle (to capture real-time impressions and feedback) – these marking guides corresponded with the grading scheme I created and shared with students prior to the test date – and recordings of the appointments (for times when I felt the answers needed more consideration and/or for grade appeal situations). I was able to allow for one full day to schedule the appointments, making sure to include scheduled breaks for myself too.

If students missed their scheduled appointment without notification or without reason, the assessment result was zero. If the reason was valid and could be qualified, the appointment was rescheduled. The date and time stamp of the recording of the missed session would prove that the student did not complete the assessment as scheduled.

In all cases, student accommodations were still able to be provided when required.

Once comfortable with the process, the students loved the casual conversation and the ability to “show off” what they had learned in the course and about the concepts.

I will be finding ways to incorporate these kinds of assessments in my other courses as well. It’s a great way for students to demonstrate learning and to provide opportunities for them to hear the perspectives of their peers on key components and concepts of the courses.
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