Thursday, November 29, 2012

Final Exams in a 1:1 BYOT Environment

December 2012 will be our first round of 1:1 BYOT Final Exams.  In my spare time (all five minutes of it in airports), I’ve been reading up on assessments in 1:1 environments.  At the JSEA Tech Directors Conference, I had a couple of conversations on assessments when students have personal devices.  Since I have spent so much time in the real world lately (and not in the blogosphere) I thought today was a good time to  summarizing ideas from print and interpersonal conversation... So I offer these guidelines for consideration during this most wonderful season of final exams!  

Creating the Exam
1. Consider your objective(s) and work backward.  In other words, don’t start with the noun (device)—start with the verbs (analyze, create, compare/contrast, develop, argue).
2. Open ended questions (strong on application and/or synthesis) are harder to cheat.
3. Do not overburden exam proctors with complicated instructions or expectations (i.e. if you don’t want students on Google during the exam...recognize the student/adult ratio in the room and the fact there is most likely no screen monitoring software).
4. Printing may be an issue in a 1:1 environment.  Plan ahead and...
5. Consider other ways of turning in assignment (email, Dropbox, shared Google Doc). 

Preparing Students
1. Be clear in your expectations.  This includes but is not limited to:

· How work should be submitted to teacher
· Format and style requirements of submitted work
· Parameters for use of device during exam—can web searches be done during exam?  Just word processing? Can notes or prior documents be opened and referenced?

2. Make sure students are familiar with the format/tool of the exam. A final exam (or other high stakes assessment) may not the best time to try a brand new tool. 
3. Clear notification to students and parents of ramifications for cheating, plagiarism or other unethical behaviors. 

Monitoring Exams
1. Understand that devices may be in use during exams.
2. Read directions from academic teacher carefully. 
3. Remind students of parameters for device usage (see above).  Hold students accountable.

** Other ideas, suggestions or  general brilliance are welcome in the comments section!


  1. How did it go? I'd love to hear.

  2. Key word search makes process much quicker - and then we can spend more time on content/analysis than on search and retrieval. Apparently we've been testing our students on how long it takes to find the annotation!

    Generally well. While we are still in our infancy... Expectations for exam process are becoming more clear. Reflection on what we are really assessing has generated great conversation. New challenge is that higher level synthesis and analysis is way more time consuming to grade than a scantron!