Final oral assessment

Oral assessment and oral assessment combined with a written assignment/a product is described briefly in this table with additional information below.

Methods of assessment
Pros
Cons
How to practice during the module

Oral exam without preparation

Focus on communication skills - relevant as a generic skill (authentic)

Allows for follow-up questions to test deep understanding

Preparation time for examiner can be kept minimal

Difficult to assess all students equally - especially with many students

Dependent on students’ ability to stay calm under pressure

Hard to test many elements from the curriculum simultaneously and all learning goals

Presentations (in class or online in Blackboard/LMS) with feedback from instructor and/or peers

Other students can be actively involved in class/online (opponents, asking questions, peer assessment, etc.)

Oral exam with preparation without aids

Oral exam with preparation with aids

Student presentation

Students give a presentation individually or in groups with or without other students as audience

Students works in-depth with one element of the curriculum

Focus on communication skills - relevant as a generic skill (authentic)

Preparation time for examiner can be kept minimal

The assessment can be performed in regular class hours

Hard to allocate topics of equal difficulty to students

Hard to test many elements from the curriculum simultaneously and all learning goals

With series of student presentations there is a risk that other students become bored and inactive

Presentations (in class or online in Blackboard/LMS) with feedback from instructor and/or peers

Other students can be actively involved in class/online (opponents, asking questions, peer assessment, etc.)

Oral defense based on written paper/report

Can be used to ensure that the student is the author of the written product

The multimodal assessment format gives students a fair chance to demonstrate their learning

Focus on communication skills - relevant as a generic skill (authentic)




Time-consuming to assess oral performance and product

The weight assigned to written product vs. presentation should be clearly communicated




Small oral and written assignments/activities preferably in combination




Oral defense based on synopsis

Oral defense based on project report

Oral defense based on poster

Oral defense based on portfolio

In the classical oral exam the student draws a question from a question bank and answers this with or without preparation time and/or aids.

The type of questions (e.g. open or closed) and the type of response (reproducing, reflecting or discussing) used in the exam will influence the knowledge and skills tested. The examiner has the opportunity to explore the answers of the student or to open a dialogue. Providing preparation time to students will reduce stress during the exam.

Oral assessment based on previously prepared work can be used to ensure students actually did the previously prepared work and to give students a higher degree of ownership.

Suggested alternatives/supplements

Smaller oral presentations (e.g. uploaded on Blackboard) during the module where students receive constructive feedback from peers, teaching assistants and/or lecturer can replace parts of a final exam. Students will be able to apply the previous feedback at the final exam.

Communication during oral exams

  • Give the student the opportunity to show what he/she can
  • Start out by asking a broad question of lower taxonomic level in order for him/her to feel welcome. Then ask questions of higher taxonomic level
  • Give the student time to think
  • Ask short questions to give the student time to speak
  • Do not teach during examination

Read more about oral assessment in LETH ANDERSEN, H. and TOFTESKOV, J., (2016), chapter 7 (only in Danish).


Examples of assessment types are listed below.

Oral assessment

  • Oral assessment with/without preparation open/closed book
  • Student presentation

Oral assessment based on previously prepared work

  • Oral presentation based on paper/synopsis
  • Oral presentation based on project report
  • Oral presentation based on portfolio