The current procedures for administering tests in large classes are inefficient and illogical, and instructors should consider implementing changes to make the process more efficient.
For large classes, students often use their ID cards to scan in and out for attendance records. Standing in line to scan in and out is ordinarily not a big deal. However, on test days it is different. Having students wait in line for several minutes takes away time that could be spent on working or preparing for the exam. During a 50-minute class, every second is crucial to doing well on the exam.
Being present to take the test and turning it in should be enough to indicate attendance. If a student has a zero for a grade, that says it all.
Another common practice of laying out test forms on seats seems convenient at first. Unfortunately, scantrons are often kept separately at the front of the classroom, causing a huge crowd to gather. Students end up grabbing at scantrons as quickly as possible, pushing and squabbling like dogs fighting over a piece of meat. Why not just put the scantrons and the test forms together on the seats? This would allow students to find a seat and get started on the test as quickly as possible in large classes.
Another annoyance is there often are not enough scantrons for everybody. In one of my classes, students actually had to stand around waiting for extra scantrons to arrive so they could start the test. If the scantrons and forms were laid out together, someone could realize there were not enough to begin with and the situation could be resolved before the class started. Instead, even more of the students’ time is wasted because of a mistake on the proctor’s part.
Issues can arise with disruptive proctors or instructors. For some reason, some proctors enjoy constantly interrupting the class to give announcements about filling out the student information portion of the scantron correctly and how much time is left to take the exam. God forbid an answer be written incorrectly, because it will undoubtedly be announced loudly several times over the course of the class period. Announcements should be taken care of before the test begins, not during. I understand instructors just want to be helpful, but superfluous announcements are just distracting. For many, silence is crucial to being able to concentrate and therefore score a passing grade on a test.
It is not fair or reasonable to cause students to waste time on test days because of unnecessary ID card procedures, miscalculations of the correct number of scantrons needed and constant verbal interruptions during the exam. Large classes are common at universities across the nation. Surely there are more effective ways to go about the test-taking process in these large classes.
Students are obligated to learn material as best as they can in order to do well in their courses. In addition, instructors and proctors have obligations to their students to provide a distraction-free setting in which to take exams.