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Home and Away: Two Sides to Take-Home Tests

Should teachers allow take-home tests? There is a pretty solid divide as to whether or not it's appropriate, ethical, or helpful. Some teachers think it's an ingenious time saver, while others argue it encourages dishonest work. Here is a collection of points, arguments, and troubleshooting tips for teachers on the fence about take-home exams.
A Collection By Sian Babish
  • 10 Collection Items
  • 10 Collection Items
  • Discussion
Home and Away: Two Sides to Take-Home Tests
  • Sian Babish says:
    Michele Willens of The Atlantic explores whether in-class or take-home tests are more successful. Willens taps into recent research out of Virginia Tech and Harvard, exploring both sides of the debate. She takes into account several variables, such as subject matter, course format, and demographics. It also discusses post-exam retention, which is another point of contention in this exam debate. The outbound links to the research are great, too.
  • Sian Babish says:
    Ben Nelson at Law School Toolbox writes a pretty convincing argument against take-home exams. He details five ways how these types of exams are counterproductive, especially in terms of the time allotment. It's a great read for teachers on both sides of the debate, especially as time sensitivity is something to be considered with other classes and after school activities.
  • Sian Babish says:
    This thread on Academia Stack Exchange sheds light on many different ways to prevent cheating on take-home tests-- the largest point of contention in the debate. As you'll see, there is more than one way to prevent cheating besides barring collaborative work. Teachers also compare test administration standards imposed by their district, which is pretty interesting to see. All in all, it's a fairly supportive thread with a lot of good insight.
  • Sian Babish says:
    The school district of Middlebury, Vermont discusses cheating in take-home tests-- but you'll be surprised (as I was) that's not where the majority of cheating occurs. The summary paper puts together web submissions and notes from a student focus group, and discusses everything from Honor Code to the correlation between cheating and assignment size. It will make you reconsider your views on take-home exams, but also brainstorm new ways to combat cheating in other types of assignments and exams.
  • Sian Babish says:
    Are take-home exams just glorified homework by another name? Explore how to draw the line between the two with this blog. The writer, a math teacher, says that to give a successful take-home exam, it definitely has to be sizably more difficult than an in-class exam. Since the teacher touts some great benefits of take-home exams, such as creative problem solving, it's worth considering whether the exam might actually foster curiosity sometimes.
  • Sian Babish says:
    Harvard University was shaken by a massive cheating scandal (over 100 students) involving a take-home exam in 2012. CNN shares excerpts from the test instructions, which explicitly state students were not allowed to discuss the exam. The scandal is an extreme example of take-home tests gone wrong, and it's an important teachable moment for teachers. Harvard students and the administration comment on the segment, all of whom offer different perspectives on the allegations.
  • Sian Babish says:
    In a study by W.J. Haynie, III for the Journal of Technology Implication, the effects of take-home tests on retention learning in explored in technology education. The study explores whether self-paced study and subsequent take-home testing have any correlation. It's a short, direct read that concludes with really great recommendation on writing successful take-home tests, with advice that is adaptable to any class or discipline.
  • Sian Babish says:
    How do students feel about take-home exams? In this MetaFilter discussion, students (and some educators) decide whether the take-home exam is actually a useful tool or a useless time-waster. Since the majority of the responses are from students (warning, some are very candid!), it's interesting for teachers to see how students view these types of exams. Points of time efficiency, creative problem solving, and measuring retention are all addressed.
  • Keys to Success: The Take Home Exam

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    lblearningservices.wordpress.com
    Sian Babish says:
    The Learning Better at Laurier Brantford blog shares these tips for students taking their very first-time take-home exam. This list is great to share with a middle school class, which is around the time when take-home exams start poppng up. If all students are on the same page when they bring their exams home, you might find they are more successful. In fact, some students even prefer take-home exams!
  • Sian Babish says:
    Maryellen Weimer, Ph.D. writes this article for Faculty Focus in which she challenges academia's traditional perspective on exams. Dr. Weimar states educators are stuck in something of a rut, using the same basic testing formats, rubrics, and scenarios. While Dr. Weimar doesn't specifically address take-home exams, it's easy to realize that teachers and administrators might need to reassess the way they test their students.
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BloomBoard Asks:What are some of the benefits, downfalls, and complications of take-home tests?