Tips for a well-structured exam.

Below are some tips for structuring your exam so that your assessment is fair and appeals to all of your students, not just those who can solve the most complicated problems. Some of the points made above are referenced from

A good exam gives all students an equal opportunity to demonstrate their learning fully. This may mean that you implement testing styles such as an open book or take home exams so that students with test anxiety can prove their ability to learn and not their ability to perform under pressure.

Consistency. Students should achieve similar if the exam were taken again.

Validity. Your questions need to relate to your course content and your learning goals

Realistic expectations. Not all students have the ability to answer the hardest questions all the time. Your exams should have a variety of questions that test multiple skill levels.

Time. Your students should have plenty of time to complete the exam.

Uses multiple question types. Different students are better at different types of questions. In order to allow all students to demonstrate their abilities, exams should include a variety of question types so that students have multiple ways to achieve marks.

Offer multiple ways to obtain full marks. Exams can be highly stressful and artificial ways to demonstrate knowledge. In recognition of this, you may want to provide questions that allow multiple ways to obtain full marks. For example, ask students to list five of the seven benefits of multiple-choice questions.

Free of bias. Don't assume your students understand or have viewed the same pop culture, or have been exposed to the same slang as you. Use language that is free from bias and easy to understand by all students.

Demanding. Challenge your students with authentic questions that test their skill, but do not make the test too easy.

Easy to understand marking criteria. Have your students received feedback from you on assignments, class discussion, etc., so they know what to expect on the exam? Have you clearly stated to students what is expected of them on the exam?

Accessible. For students with physical or learning disabilities, exams must be amenable to adaptive technologies such as screen readers or screen magnifiers. If you do need to make accommodations for a student in your class, you can do so by contacting the Accommodated Learning Centre here at the UofL.

Provide progressive structure. Your exam should open with some easier questions and progressively get more challenging. There are two reasons for this. It allows students to answer a variety of question types, and also allows them to use the exam to build confidence as they move to more challengin questions.