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Home exams

A home exam is a form of examination where the student is given one or more assignments to complete. A home exam can last for several days or a shorter period of time (hours). The examination is carried out without supervision. The examination assignment should be designed based on the fact that the student has access to course literature, materials, communication with classmates, etc.

Create a home exam

A home exam can include a large variety of different types of work. Reporting can take place in many different forms, for example as written text, a recording, an interactive website, a model building, etc. One way to choose the form of the assignment is to base it on how the students will use their knowledge in their future professional lives. Another way is to start from the intended learning outcomes.

Connect examination to teaching

The intended learning outcomes of the course chould be assessed

The structure in which the intended learning outcomes (ILO) are examined differs greatly between different courses. For some courses, it is appropriate to examine one ILO per assignment. For other courses, all ILOs should be examined in each assignment, and sometimes assignments can be divided according to different grade levels for the ILO. With a good examination, the student is given the opportunity to show their developed understanding of the course. Consider when during the course the different ILOs should be examined. If it is likely that the students can perform better later in the course on an ILO that has been examined early, the examination should be adjusted accordingly.

Backwash in assessment

The examination affects how and what the students learn (backwash in assessment). For example, it is likely that the content the student knows will be examined is what is prioritized in the student's workflow, which must be taken into account when designing examining assignments.

Continuous examination

Continuous examination may be good for motivating students and keeping the work going, but it may need a concluding examination at the end. A continuous examination supports the student's continuous learning. When conducting continuous examination with the help of several home assignments, it is good if the assignments together form a whole or have a common thread in how they are connected to each other.

Constructive alignment

Intended learning outcomes, teaching and examination should be linked to benefit the student's learning. Specifically, the work to design a course according to constructive alignment can, for example, be started by arranging the course around different themes in different weeks. Alternatively, the assignments for examination can be based on and started during the lessons.
Read more about the basics of constructive alignment on John Bigg's website.

Mathematics and home examination

If you have a calculation heavy exam that you wish to examine through home examination, it may be hard to determine if student submissions are unique, as student calculations can be expected to be similar. In general, it is easier to cheat on assignments that can be solved in one specific way (e.g. calculations and procedural tasks) than on assignments that require the students to describe their reasoning. A solution for calculation tasks can be to add questions or change the questions so that they give rise to more explanatory answers from the student. You can for example ask the students to in their own words explain what each part of the calculation does or contributes to in the solution. If assignments are submitted in Canvas, there is a plagiarism check which works well for using computer written text. You as a teacher can for exemple ask the students to submit the exam as a report where the calculations performed are included as inserted photographs of handwritten solutions. The student combines the text and images into a PDF. The text will then be checked for plagiarism and it will be clear when assessing whether the students have identical solutions and calculations.

Home examination - what should I think about and how do I do it?

Presenters: Ida-Naimi- Akbar (doctoral student / lecturer / course designer) and Malin Engquist (course designer), 2020-05-08. This webinar was held in Swedish.

The focus of this webinar was home examinations as a possible approach to assessing knowledge. During the webinar, the advantages and disadvantages of this method were discussed, as well as what is important to think about with this method, such as how to think when constructing questions.

Go to KTH Play for access to presentation material:
Home examination - what should I think about and how do I do it? (KTH Play)

Follow-up of home examination

A course is recommended to have at least one examining task where an identification check is done. If the course consists only of home examinations, one way of carrying out the identification check may be that it takes place upon submission (if the submission takes place physically and not via Canvas) or during a presentation of the task. Another good way for a larger task that the students work with for a long time is to arrange a follow-up meeting in the middle of the work. In order for feedback to benefit learning and students' development, the feedback loop needs to be able to close, and this is what happens if the student is also given the opportunity to develop his work from the received feedback. The teacher also gets insight into the student's work and can steer the work in the right direction and get an idea of, for example, the student's writing style, which can be an advantage when the work's legitimacy is to be determined.

An alternative way to work with feedback is to use peer review. Peer review in this context is a way to provide feedback, which that the student can use to develop their work. For written work, Canvas offers support for the organization. Read more about peer review in Canvas here.

Another alternative, possible for written work, is that the student works in a document shared with the teacher so that the teacher can see how the student's work leads to the finished result. There are also documents where the teacher can track changes and quickly be presented with the work process, for example Word - track changes or Google drive - draftback.

There is no monitoring during the home exam , so it can be a recommended to supplement it with some form of oral examination. (see Follow-up oral examination to obstruct cheating ). More suggestions on how to design a home examination to counteract the risk of plagiarism can be found on the page Design written assignments .

Teacher stories - How I replaced one proctored campus exam with a home exam

Presenter: Viggo Kann (Professor / Director of Studies), 2020-10-29. This webinar was held in Swedish.

This webinar describes how quizzes and master's tests, with written and oral presentation, can successfully replace proctored campus exams, even in courses with large student groups. Both the theory part and the problem solving part of the exam in the course Algorithms, data structures and complexity have been replaced by another examination: a peer-reviewed theory quiz and two individual master's tests. The course is compulsory for the third year students of the computer science program with over 200 registered students. The examination form has been developed over many years and did not take place on campus to any extent during the autumn of 2020. The assessment is made according to carefully specified assessment criteria and the examination is fitted into the course to help the students learn as much as possible.

Go to KTH Play for access to presentation material:
Teacher stories - How I replaced one proctored campus exam with a home exam (KTH Play)

Contact and support for examination

Do you have questions about examination? There are contact persons for planning and coordinating examinations at each school, and you can also get help with digital arrangements from E-learning.

Contacts for examination