As classes move online, many students hope teachers can be understanding by allowing open notes and book tests.
But, will this help students learn the required material?
Students often prefer open book exams because it decreases test anxiety and does not require a lot of memorization. But, it does not take their understanding of the material into consideration.
Closed book exams help strengthen their ability to memorize and retain information.
In a field study comparing closed and open book testing in university classes, the University of Kassel in partnership with the University of Erfurt’s Department of Psychology found that the closed book group performed and yielded better results.
According to the American Test Anxieties Association, about 16-20% of students have high test anxiety.
When students form healthy study habits, they become comfortable with exam material, gain self-confidence and learn skills that they can use throughout their lives, such as the ability to prioritize and manage their time.
When tests allow for open notes, they’re not taking the time to acknowledge what parts of the material they need to focus on because they already have the answers readily at hand.
Closed book exams allow students to recognize what sections of the material they understand and what sections they need to spend more time on.
When they are made to rely on their memory and study habits, it encourages them to push harder. This helps students learn from their mistakes and hone in on areas of difficulty.
Professors can also benefit from closed book exams.
They can gauge where students stand academically and pinpoint what areas they’re struggling the most in.
In turn, the class benefits from this because the professor will know how to help those who are having a hard time.
Whether classes are in-person or online, the goal of learning should be the same. Closed book exams not only help push students to understand the material but to retain it as well.