Perhaps the most sensitive period for university students would be during the exam period. Needless to say, everyone wants to get fair results relevant to one’s effort. As for the freshmen, it was their first midterm exam at university. It could have been more difficult for them to prepare for since it is quite different from exams back in high school. Although it is important for one to study hard and score high in each exam, the grades are given out by relative evaluation. In this regard, the importance of ensuring fair testing cannot be stressed enough. However, after the midterms, problems in managing exams arose, not to mention other recurrent problems frequently brought up during exam periods. Let’s take a closer look at this issue.
Problems Brought up After the Midterm
Insufficient Exam Preparation for Large Classes
In the case of common liberal arts classes, such as "Accounting in the Age of Entrepreneurship
," many students take the same test on the same designated day. Also there are classes that hold lectures in large scale where many students inevitably have to take the test in the same room. In these circumstances, extra care is needed, as more students are within supervision. Thus, supervisors should pay more attention to students who cheat and be more prepared to make sure everything is in order. However, it was quite disappointing that after the midterms, problems regarding a serious lack of preparation were brought up. To begin with, test papers were not readily distributed as there were not enough to go around for every student. Obviously, this lack of preparation caused confusion where supervisors had to run around the corridors to get extras from other classes. In this situation, notices were not delivered clearly regarding important matters such as marking one’s type of test.
Test Time Not Followed
Another problem, related with not following the appointed test time, was posed. As mentioned above, due to insufficient preparation, the test could not start on time, especially for students in the back. It appears that there had been a gap between the front row students who started their exam on time and those relatively in the back who received their test papers late. Also there was a class where the professor arrived about 15 minutes later than the originally scheduled time (with no prior notice), while students were left wondering when he would come. Not only that, there was a case where the exam supervisor did not notify students before starting the exam that they could ask for an extra 10~15 minutes if needed. Students were told only after the test had begun when there were some students who had already left the room.
Recurrent Problems during Exam Period
Cheating on Exams
Some would wonder if cheating still happens in university and the answer would be, “There’s more than you would have expected.” There are several ways cheating is carried out. For example, writing down important content or formulas beforehand, or changing answers after the test is over. Some secretly use cell phones or wait for a chance when the supervision is relatively loose during the exam supervisors’ replacement times. There are even reports from the same class telling the professor that someone next to him or her cheated on the exam. Although thorough supervision is needed, blind spots are inevitable. With regards to preventing cheating, students’ conscience comes first to ensure that those who come to exams honestly prepared do not suffer from these unscrupulous acts. Furthermore, strong penalties should be given to discourage students from even thinking about cheating on exams.
Past Exam Papers
One of the recurrent problems is an issue concerning past exam papers. Those who study without them would be more anxious. It would be easy to blame other students taking advantage of past exam papers while what the real problem is the unchanged or similar test questions. In some classes, professors who acknowledge this problem even upload previous tests for students to take a look at. However, as there are still posts on the university’s portal site asking for past exam papers of certain subjects and offering something in return, the issue of past exam papers still exists. This kind of exchange is also happening in other universities, including Hanyang University and Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, where students buy and sell past exam papers.
In contrast, Yonsei
University offers a site called “Yonple” which enables students to obtain past papers rather easily. In order to view others’ previous tests, students need to upload reviews about the exams that they have already taken. The reviews include test questions and answers. Then the site managers check each posting and give them certain admission to read other reviews that they need. The system seems to greatly lessen students’ burden of asking directly for past exam papers and it could be one of the plausible methods that Chung-Ang University can also adopt to put an end to this issue. .
What Chung-Ang University Students Think about the Issue
CAH conducted an online survey on Chung-Ang University Students.
Q: Are there any complaints or inconveniences you have experienced during exam periods? (Multiple selection possible.)
(Chart) Supervisor’s Insufficient Exam Preparation / Test Time Not Followed / Spotting Others Cheating on Exams / Reliance on Past Exam Papers / Others
Among 60 students surveyed, “reliance on past exam papers” ranked as the top factor. “Others” include unclear rating criteria, not notifying the change of classroom for taking the exam, noisy testing environment, and so on.
Q: Do you feel the need to obtain past exam papers?
(Pie Chart) Definitely Yes / Yes / Kind of / Not Really / Not at all
There seems to be a difference in the answers according to one’s department. In case of College of Humanities, most of the answers were “not really,” while for College of Business and Economics, and College of ICT Engineering, the majority answered “definitely yes,” and “yes.”
Exam supervisors, examiners, and students all share responsibility of ensuring fair testing to be practiced. The complaints from the midterm exam period should be recognized and the problems pointed out should be improved on. Not only that, other repeatedly occurring problems that are against fair testing should not be overlooked. Hopefully, with everyone's effort, Chung-Ang University will be one step closer to carrying out fair testing, starting with the upcoming finals.
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