open-book final

Douglas P. Jensen djensen at HOLLINS.EDU
Tue May 5 07:51:41 EST 1998

At 05:33 pm 5-4-98 -0700, scott meissner wrote:
>One course I had allowed students to bring in a blue-book
>with ANYTHING written in it.  
>Having the entire book to use
>can be overwhelming, and a temptation to some to study less,
>since they assume that they could look it up.  

When I took intro chemistry, we were allowed one 3X5 card for each hourly
exam and one 8 1/2 x 11 paper for the final (both sides were allowed for
each).  This was plenty for me.  The periodic table was available for
everyone to use, so we had no need to reproduce it onto our sheets.
When I took organic, we had an open-book final, and it significantly raised
at least one person's grade.  As a teacher, I think exams should be closed
book, but that a small cheat-sheet is appropriate in certain situations.  It
forces students to consider what the most important material is and it helps
them study the material they are not as familiar with.


Douglas P. Jensen
Department of Biology
PO Box 9615
Hollins College
Roanoke, Virginia 24020
djensen at

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