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Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 26, 2023
Insights from the First Year of Project # 2044472 “Improving the Conceptual Mastery of Engineering Students in High Enrollment Engineering Courses through Oral ExamsThis project aims to enhance students’ learning in foundational engineering courses through oral exams based on the research conducted at the University of California San Diego. The adaptive dialogic nature of oral exams provides instructors an opportunity to better understand students’ thought processes, thus holding promise for improving both assessments of conceptual mastery and students’ learning attitudes and strategies. However, the issues of oral exam reliability, validity, and scalability have not been fully addressed. As with any assessment format, careful design is needed to maximize the benefits of oral exams to student learning and minimize the potential concerns. Compared to traditional written exams, oral exams have a unique design space, which involves a large range of parameters, including the type of oral assessment questions, grading criteria, how oral exams are administered, how questions are communicated and presented to the students, how feedback were provided, and other logistical perspectives such as weight of oral exam in overall course grade, frequency of oral assessment, etc. In order to address the scalability for high enrollment classes, key elements of the project are the involvement of the entire instructional team (instructors and teaching assistants). Thus the project will create a new training program tomore »Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 26, 2023
While studies have shown that oral exams are a valuable method of assessment, their use has been limited due to concerns about scalability, examiner bias, and student anxiety. This paper presents preliminary results on incorporating oral exams into two large undergraduate engineering courses, examining the potential viability of these assessment strategies. This work was done when the courses were offered remotely due to COVID-19, but the results offer valuable insights that could carry over to in-person instruction as well.
Oral exams for large-enrollment engineering courses to promote academic integrity and student engagement during remote instructionThis work-in-progress paper presents an innovative practice of using oral exams to maintain academic integrity and promote student engagement in large-enrollment engineering courses during remote instruction. With the abrupt and widespread transition to distance learning and assessment brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a registered upsurge in academic integrity violations globally. To address the challenge of compromised integrity, in the winter quarter of 2021 we have implemented oral exams across six mostly high-enrollment mechanical and electrical engineering undergraduate courses. We present our oral exam design parameters in each of the courses and discuss how oral exams relate to academic integrity, student engagement, stress, and implicit bias. We also address the challenge of scalability, as most of our oral exams were implemented in large classes, where academic integrity and student-instructor disconnection have generally gotten disproportionately worse during remote learning. Our survey results indicate that oral exams have positively contributed to academic integrity in our courses. Based on our preliminary study and experiences, we expect oral exams can be effectively leveraged to hinder cheating and foster academic honesty in students, even when in-person instruction and assessment resumes.