Why two-stage exams? UBC-centric evidence

At the 2016 CTLT Summer Institute, I co-facilitated the session on Assessment and Evaluation. Using the opportunity to advertise two-stage exams, I provided evidence for three main points:

  1. Students learn from them
  2. Students participate meaningfully
  3. Students like them

The research I used to back these is all home-grown at UBC (of course, this isn’t an exhaustive reference list on the subject).


Two-stage exams: Students learn from them

When students were tested in groups, they showed significantly greater improvement on subsequent individual testing then when tested only as individuals.

Referenced as: Gilley and Clarkston (2014).

Full reference: Gilley, Brett Hollis, and Bridgette Clarkston. “Collaborative testing: Evidence of learning in a controlled in-class study of undergraduate students.” Journal of College Science Teaching 43.3 (2014): 83-91.


Two-stage exams: Students participate meaningfully

Referenced as: Ives, Van Lier, Sumah, and Stang (2016).

Full reference: Joss Ives, Matias de Jong Van Lier, Nutifafa Kwaku Sumah, Jared Stang. Examining Student Participation in Two-Phase Collaborative Exams through Video Analysis.” Submitted to the Proceedings of the Physics Education Research Conference, arXiv:1607.03960 (2016).


Two-stage exams: Students like them

Students’ response to the use of two-stage exams is overwhelmingly positive, with 87% of the students recommending continued use of two-stage midterm exams and only a few percent recommending against their use.

Referenced as: Wieman, Rieger, and Heiner (2014).

Full reference: Wieman, Carl E., Georg W. Rieger, and Cynthia E. Heiner. “Physics exams that promote collaborative learning.” The Physics Teacher 52.1 (2014): 51-53.

Referenced as: Rieger and Heiner (2014).

Full reference: Rieger, Georg W., and Cynthia E. Heiner. “Examinations that support collaborative learning: the students’ perspective.” Journal of College Science Teaching 43.4 (2014): 41-47.

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