Goals for student learning:
- Master course material
- For midterm and final exams, synthesize diverse course material
- Assess own learning
Be aware that:
- Exams may reward short-term (i.e. “shallow” or “strategic”) learning rather than long-term retention of information or skills.
- High-stakes exams may tempt students to cheat. “The more pressure you put on a single exam, the more likely the chance that students will respond by using any means necessary to succeed on it.”
- Students may be tempted to alter a graded exam and request a re-grade. You may wish to directly address this temptation with your students. You may also wish to require students to write a short written statement about each question they want to be reconsidered explaining why it should be.
To encourage active, deep, and honest engagement:
- Decide how an exam will not only test your students’ knowledge but also ask students to apply that knowledge in a new context.
- Generate a grading rubric that matches your goals; how will you reward originality, elegance, or creativity (for instance) as well as correctness?
- Discuss the purpose of an exam in class, and offer students guidance on how to prepare for it.
- Consider assigning multiple exams or different forms of assessment over the term.
- Specify what information a student may access during a take-home exam, and clarify your collaboration policy.
- Invite students to use their exam results for self-assessment (what material do they understand? What are they still struggling to master?).
Assignment types and examples:
- Mid-term exam
- Take-home exam
- Seated exam
- Oral exam
Resources for faculty:
 James M. Lang,Cheating Lessons: Learning from Academic Dishonesty (Harvard UP, 2013), 41.
 Lang, Cheating Lessons, 105.