Abstract

We explore how course policies affect students' studying and learning when a second-chance exam is offered. High-stakes, one-off exams remain a de facto standard for assessing student knowledge in STEM, despite compelling evidence that other assessment paradigms such as mastery learning can improve student learning. Unfortunately, mastery learning can be costly to implement. We explore the use of optional second-chance testing to sustainably reap the benefits of mastery-based learning at scale. Prior work has shown that course policies affect students' studying and learning but have not compared these effects within the same course context. We conducted a quasi-experimental study in a single course to compare the effect of two grading policies for second-chance exams and the effect of increasing the size of the range of dates for students taking asynchronous exams. The first grading policy, called 90-cap, allowed students to optionally take a second-chance exam that would fully replace their score on a first-chance exam except the second-chance exam would be capped at 90% credit. The second grading policy, called 90-10, combined students' first- and second-chance exam scores as a weighted average (90% max score + 10% min score). The 90-10 policy significantly increased the likelihood that marginally competent students would take the second-chance exam. Further, our data suggests that students learned more under the 90-10 policy, providing improved student learning outcomes at no cost to the instructor. Most students took exams on the last day an exam was available, regardless of how many days the exam was available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationICER 2020 - Proceedings of the 2020 ACM Conference on International Computing Education Research
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages56-66
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781450370929
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 10 2020
Event16th Annual ACM Conference on International Computing Education Research, ICER 2020 - Virtual, Online, New Zealand
Duration: Aug 10 2020Aug 12 2020

Publication series

NameICER 2020 - Proceedings of the 2020 ACM Conference on International Computing Education Research

Conference

Conference16th Annual ACM Conference on International Computing Education Research, ICER 2020
CountryNew Zealand
CityVirtual, Online
Period8/10/208/12/20

Keywords

  • assessment
  • computer education
  • computer-based exams
  • mastery
  • second-chance testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Software
  • Education

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