Context: The course is part of the third-year MBChB programme that previously had a lecture every day, a practical every week, two class tests, and a final exam with a theory and a practical section. The weekly quizzes make up the continuous assessment mark, while the exam represents the summative assessment mark. In 2020, the number of delivered lectures was reduced from five to three per week. A fourth lecture session was added. This involved answering questions on Zoom and allowing classroom discussions, but few students participated. The fifth lecture was dropped to reduce the overall workload.
Purpose: Previously, the exam would have a multiple choice question component contributing 50% and the rest of the exam comprised written answers. In ERT, this was changed. All questions became multiple choice extended matching type questions using Vula Tests and Quizzes. Every student got the same questions, but they were delivered in a random order, and in a linear mode, so that students could not go back to change their answers. The purpose of this design was to mitigate against collusion.
The practical exam was similar to the theory exam - a linear, timed quiz using Vula. There were some calculation-type questions that required students to do calculations before choosing the correct answer.
Process: The new exam format involved creating more questions, ensuring there was coverage of the work, and checking that there was a range of difficulty levels. There were no essay type questions. Despite students not being required to answer essay-type questions, the exam format had been a good way of assessing student understanding. Additionally, students had to confirm the honesty pledge. It seemed some still had books around them during the exam, but because of the limited time, these students didn’t really get too much of a chance to go through their notes to search for the right answers.
Outcomes/ Lessons learned: From an analysis of the exam submission, the exam in a multiple choice extended matching type question format seemed to be an appropriate way of evaluating student knowledge under the circumstances. Marks were somewhat elevated for this assessment compared to previous exams.
Recommendations: Developing appropriate multiple choice extended matching type questions was successfully used to both assess student knowledge and mitigate against collusion or cheating.