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Best practices for administering remote exams

This article was updated on March 15, 2021.

Given the recent health risks to our learning communities, the Crowdmark team would like to share some best practices for administering practical remote exams.

1. Create your exam using the Assigned Assessment feature

The Assigned Assessment is Crowdmark’s version of a take-home exam. It enables you to import an exam that you have already made elsewhere into Crowdmark, assign and distribute it to students, and then grade it using annotations, in-text comments, and many other features included in our suite of grading tools. You can also create multiple versions of the exam to distribute to students by simply:

  • Duplicating your assessment
  • Giving each duplicate a different name (e.g., Take-Home Exam Version A)
  • And then assigning each version to different groups of students.

2. Provide students with a full copy of the exam

If your existing exam is a PDF, you can attach it directly into the directions box of the assessment you are creating. Crowdmark renders the exam into a link that students can click on, giving them an experience similar to writing the exam in-class, enabling them to have the full test available to them to reference during the exam. Students can then submit their assessment using any device with a browser and internet connection.

3. Make a comment library ahead of time

Crowdmark offers the ability to pre-populate each of your exam questions with a library of comments. Comments can either be written ahead of time and uploaded all at once or at a time. Moreover, these comments may be assigned points, enabling graders to simply drag and drop comments onto specific questions and automatically tabulate grades. Since instructors can retroactively change grades associated with any comment, you can grade freely starting from the very first exam you grade. You know you can go back and change the value of any comment for every question in just one click. There’s no need to go back and change things one at a time, and you can update all future questions to the new point value.

4. Ensure that you give students enough time to submit their responses

Students unfamiliar with a remote grading tool like Crowdmark may take a bit more time to upload their answers. Creating buffers of 10 minutes at the beginning of the exam will help ensure that students submit on time. For example, if you’d like your exam to be written in two hours from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. on April 1, 2020, set the due date as 2:10 p.m. and the scheduled distribution date as 11:50 a.m.

5. Be clear with students about the use of study aids

Students may be curious about whether the exam will be closed or open book, given the novelty of writing a test outside of class.

  • If you choose to make it a closed book, you can have students sign an academic integrity document outlining what they are and are not allowed to use and be available for questions during the exam window.
  • If you choose to make it an open book, inform students about what kinds of resources they may find useful and what expectations you will have, given that they have more resources available to them than they usually would.

By following these best practices, you can rest assured that students will quickly and safely write exams outside of the classroom.

For further information about how Crowdmark facilitates the administration of remote exams, please check out our recent blog post or contact us.