DAILY INSIGHT: Final exams in a 1:1 BYOT environment

Advice for handling exams in a BYOT school. 
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Advice for handling exams in a BYOT school. 

By Jen LaMaster, CIO Advisor

December 2012 was our first round of 1:1 BYOT Final Exams. In my spare time (all five minutes of it in airports), I read up on assessments in 1:1 environments. At the JSEA Tech Directors Conference, I had a couple of conversations on assessments when students have personal devices. Since I have spent so much time in the real world lately (and not in the blogosphere), I thought I would summarizing ideas from print and interpersonal conversation... So I offer these guidelines for consideration during this most wonderful season of final exams!

Creating the Exam

1. Consider your objective(s) and work backward. In other words, don’t start with the noun (device)—start with the verbs (analyze, create, compare/contrast, develop, argue).

2. Open-ended questions (strong on application and/or synthesis) are harder to cheat.

3. Do not overburden exam proctors with complicated instructions or expectations (i.e., if you don’t want students on Google during the exam...recognize the student/adult ratio in the room and the fact there is most likely no screen monitoring software).

4. Printing may be an issue in a 1:1 environment. Plan ahead and...

5. Consider other ways of turning in assignments (email, Dropbox, shared Google Doc).

Preparing Students

1. Be clear in your expectations. This includes but is not limited to:

· How work should be submitted to teacher
· Format and style requirements of submitted work
· Parameters for use of device during exam—can web searches be done during exam? Just word processing? Can notes or prior documents be opened and referenced?

2. Make sure students are familiar with the format/tool of the exam. A final exam (or other high-stakes assessment) may not the best time to try a brand new tool.

3. Clear notification to students and parents of ramifications for cheating, plagiarism or other unethical behaviors.

Monitoring Exams

1. Understand that devices may be in use during exams.

2. Read directions from academic teacher carefully.

3. Remind students of parameters for device usage (see above). Hold students accountable.

** Other ideas, suggestions or general brilliance are welcome in the comments section!

Jen LaMaster is director of faculty development at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School.

See this and other blogs by Jen at Ed Tech Reflections.