Is there an alternative to exams? Examination stress in engineering courses

Article


Parsons, David. 2008. "Is there an alternative to exams? Examination stress in engineering courses." International Journal of Engineering Education. 24 (6), pp. 1111-1118.
Article Title

Is there an alternative to exams? Examination stress in engineering courses

ERA Journal ID20618
Article CategoryArticle
Authors
AuthorParsons, David
Journal TitleInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Journal Citation24 (6), pp. 1111-1118
Number of Pages8
Year2008
Place of PublicationIreland
ISSN0949-149X
Web Address (URL)http://www.ijee.dit.ie/latestissues/Vol24-6/s10_ijee1993.pdf
Abstract

Examination stress is probably a factor in the poorer than expected performance of some engineering students. This paper presents some evidence of this connection from a specific third level electronics course together with descriptions of several strategies adopted to alleviate it and resulting changes in performance. The literature on examination stress and the effectiveness of strategies to alleviate it is then reviewed in the light of the above experiences, leading to the conclusion that it is likely that examination stress is a significant factor in the academic performance of some engineering students, and possibly more so for those from Asian backgrounds. Further the literature suggests that the following actions have potential value for alleviating the poorer academic results flowing from examination stress: 1) employing good teaching and well structured materials and study programs; 2) using a variety of styles of assessment with opportunity to practice those styles; 3) allowing memory support such as by allowing open-book assessments; 4) including opportunities for students to comment on the assessment experience either during the assessment or soon afterwards; 5) asking questions that are either individualized or have elements of choice about answers; and 6) relaxing the time pressure on assessment activities.

Keywordsexaminations; examination stress; test anxiety; assessment; engineering courses
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020520102. Educational psychology
390113. Science, technology and engineering curriculum and pedagogy
390402. Education assessment and evaluation
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Byline AffiliationsDepartment of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering
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