Comparing Open book exams And Closed book exams

Since the covid-shock, educational thinkers have been vigorously debating alternative assessment methods to suit the changed conditions. A 2016 systematic review(Medical Ed) comparing Open book exams vs Closed book exams(shared by David Carless) provided some insights about the use of open-book exams as an alternative to regular assessment methods. The review looked at six outcome categories: (1) examination preparation, (2) test anxiety, (3) exam performance, (4) psychometrics and logistics, (5) testing effects, and (6) public perception.

Conclusion suggest that no sufficient evidence exist for exclusively choosing either Open book exams or closed book exams. According to the researchers, a combined approach could be more significant. To quote Prof. David Carless “Open book vs closed book exams: mixed evidence but students prepare more diligently for CBEs”

The study also mentioned comments made by students(on OBE); ‘that they were less prepared for a final examination that they knew would be an OBE because they expected to be able to find the answers in the book during the exam. Because of less experience with the OBE format students misperceived its difficulty. As the following tweet by Tim Fawns suggests, students later desired additional practice/training for the OBE format.

My hidden curiosity about this topic was/is to find if success in CBE predicts success in OBE. I am curious about this because it can shed some light on the predicting power of standardized tests(PISA)/IQ, etc. on general performance in an open book real world.

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