Wednesday, 25 March 2015

When is a MOLE Exam Not an Exam?

Photo on a CC license by Marie Coleman via flickr
When it's ajar?
If only it was so simple!

This blog post follows on from my last one that talked about our new MOLE Exams procedure developed by the Exams Team and us.

One of the difficulties that we face here is making the decision about how to classify a MOLE test as an 'exam'. It is very common to use MOLE tests throughout a module's teaching as a core part of the learning materials. Often they are formative tests, there to build and consolidate a student's knowledge, but they are also used summatively to test levels of understanding, and can contribute to the final grade that the student will receive for that module. Sometimes, these summative tests can appear to be very exam-like; they will take place in a room at a fixed time with someone watching over the proceedings to ensure fair play. In this scenario, should this be an exam? Well if we take a look at the University regulations, they say that 'an exam is summative work under invigilated conditions in line with the general regulations as to examinations’.

So does the 'test' to be taken in MOLE qualify by this definition? It it does, then it's an exam, and so the MOLE exam procedures apply. This is good, because suddenly you have access to all that support for booking venues, invigilators and the myriad other things that need to be dealt with for an exam.

So, if your 'test' fails this exam, erm, test, does that mean the MOLE exam procedures don't apply? Well the answer to that is yes and no. Take no first; they don't apply because the Exams Team won't handle the administration of the exam, so rooms, invigilators, and the other stuff, remain the responsibility of the department. No also applies, to a degree, to the specific exam technical support we offer (for example we can't guarantee being able to get someone to the room as quickly as we would for an exam), however, the TEL Team can, and will, still be able to support these higher stake tests, providing we receive the following information with as much notice as possible:
  • When is the test happening?
  • Where is it happening?
  • How many students are taking it?
  • Which MOLE course is it in?
  • Which test is being used?
  • Do you want to use the LockDown Browser? *
If we have this information, we can do our best to ensure that it runs smoothly on the day and should any problems arise will do our best to resolve them.

So when is a MOLE exam not an exam? When it's a higher stake test!


 * We hope the LockDown Browser will be ready to use for the next exams session, however we have no firm date for this yet.

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