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ERIC Number: EJ1058117
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jun
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 38
ISSN: EISSN-1931-7913
The Grass Isn't Always Greener: Perceptions of and Performance on Open-Note Exams
Sato, Brian K.; He, Wenliang; Warschauer, Mark; Kadandale, Pavan
CBE - Life Sciences Education, v14 n2 Article 11 Jun 2015
Undergraduate biology education is often viewed as being focused on memorization rather than development of students' critical-thinking abilities. We speculated that open-note testing would be an easily implemented change that would emphasize higher-order thinking. As open-note testing is not commonly used in the biological sciences and the literature on its effects in biology education is sparse, we performed a comprehensive analysis of this intervention on a primary literature--based exam across three large-enrollment laboratory courses. Although students believed open-note testing would impact exam scores, we found no effect on performance, either overall or on questions of nearly all Bloom's levels. Open-note testing also produced no advantage when examined under a variety of parameters, including research experience, grade point average, course grade, prior exposure to primary literature--focused laboratory courses, or gender. Interestingly, we did observe small differences in open-and closed-note exam performance and perception for students who experienced open-note exams for an entire quarter. This implies that student preparation or in-test behavior can be altered by exposure to open-note testing conditions in a single course and that increased experience may be necessary to truly understand the impact of this intervention.
American Society for Cell Biology. 8120 Woodmont Avenue Suite 750, Bethesda, MD 20814-2762. Tel: 301-347-9300; Fax: 301-347-9310; e-mail:; Website:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California