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Proctored campus exams

A classic exam that is conducted on campus dates back a long time and thus has well-developed traditions regarding the implementation. This page highlights the advantages and disadvantages of a proctored campus exam and discusses when it can be a suitable form of examination.

Proctored campus exams at KTH

During a proctored campus exam at KTH, students are examined in a room on campus where an exam invigilator checks ID and monitors the writing in order to counter cheating. An exam usually lasts for three to five hours. Permitted aids during writing vary between that only pen and eraser are allowed for the student, to allowing calculators, course literature, own notes, etc. Students are allowed to visit the toilet after registering with the invigilator, and sometimes supervised breaks are also offered for those who need to stretch their legs and get some fresh air. At least once during the writing, the examiner or a teacher on duty usually visits the writing room to answer any questions. It is also common for proctored campus exams to be combined with smaller exams where the student is prepared for the larger exam. Read more on the page about Partial exams (KS) .

Proctored campus exams are allowed

The proctored campus exam may be used where it is a suitable form of examination in relation to the course content and intended learning outcomes. For a long time, the tradition of the proctored campus exam has been developed in order to examine students' procedural abilities and factual knowledge in the best possible way. Teaching today, however, often focuses on the student's ability to analyze and work on the basis of given facts, which can question if proctored campus examination is a suitable examination method.

The examination affects the student's way of approaching the course and what the student will choose to learn. It is a challenge to create a really good examination, which makes students learn the course material, is impossible to cheat on, and can easily be administered and quickly assessed.

The form of examination affects the student's learning

The goal after a course is that the student has developed knowledge, skills and abilities that make the student better equipped for future challenges. The examination is an opportunity for the student to evaluate and get feedback on their learning and knowledge. The examination is also a way to help the student set a deadline for when material must be completely processed. Sometimes a course is best suited to be processed as a whole with a concluding part, and sometimes it is suitable to divide the course into smaller parts. In addition to this, the student can use the result of the examination at a later time, with the help of a grade, to show what knowledge can be expected of the student / engineer.

A proctored campus exam has many advantages

In a course with proctored campus exams, the student knows that it is the individual knowledge that will be evaluated under strict conditions. The student knows that the knowledge evaluation will take place under supervision, which may discourage cheating. The student is often given the opportunity to show their knowledge at the end of the course, when an overall picture, and hopefully a deeper knowledge, has been achieved. The students show their knowledge when they are supervised, which enables testing of the individual's factual knowledge and mechanical skills to be tested, such knowledge where students can answer the same thing without it having to be plagiarism. The routines around a paper exam are also well established, so both students and teachers feel secure with the solution.

But a proctored campus exam also has disadvantages

Picture of graph shows how student intensively studies before examination compared to a steady pace

A course with a classic arrangement of partial exams and a final proctored campus exam often leads to the student having an uneven pace of study. Periods with too much rest and compensatory periods with very intensive studies instead of continuous work. The uneven pace of study often results in knowledge being placed in short-term memory instead of the desired placement in long-term memory. An arrangement with a proctored campus exam also benefits those who find it easy to show their knowledge in text in a short time. There are many students who could perform better in another form of examination. An exam also does not in many cases correspond to how the student will have to show and use their knowledge in reality after the exam. Grades from a proctored campus exam situation can therefore be a bit misleading for a future employer. Proctored campus exams take a long time to assess and any feedback to the students comes too late to help the student learn as the feedback loop does not close. It can therefore be perceived as a less fun task to assess exam assignments.

When is a proctored campus exam a suitable form of examination?

Advantages of the entrance exam:

  • Measures an individual performance
  • Is a monitored occasion
  • ID check can be included
  • Measures the student's knowledge after completing the course
  • Well-known method for teachers and students

Disadvantages of the entrance exam:

  • The student must solve the task for a limited time, which makes it difficult to solve tasks that require analysis, deeper understanding and show their own reflections / values.
  • Does not contribute to continuous study pace and examination.
  • Does not take into account students' different abilities to show their knowledge. (written, oral, etc.)
  • Time spent on examination rarely contributes to the student's learning as any feedback is given too late.
  • Resource-intensive in the form of administration, exam guards, halls, etc.

The proctored campus exam is suitable for use in courses where the student must demonstrate procedural skills and factual knowledge without reproducing their own reflections. To support the student's continuous learning by, for example, giving feedback in the course, it is recommended that the proctored campus exam be combined with some form of continuous examination, such as partial exams or small home assignments.

Contact about examination

Do you have questions or wish to receive guidance about conducting examination?

E-mail: e-learning@kth.se , mark your mail: examination guidance

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Last changed: Aug 23, 2021