26 oktober 2018

Examination week

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My students finished their last exam yesterday. For sure they are enjoying their day off today, they really have nothing to do with regards to studying. I hope they take this rainy day as an opportunity to reflect on how they experienced their first eight weeks of studying biomedical sciences at the VU. I wonder how they liked it and if they have some feedback for us on how to improve this first course.

Meanwhile, I am still working on grading their papers. Twenty-two down, eighteen to go. I also need a break, a moment of reflection. These eight weeks have flown by. Especially the last two weeks were stressful, as the examinations were coming up. I had hoped to be able to start grading then, but no. As lecturer and coordinator of the course I need to be flexible. Being able to see which matters are most urgent and need immediate attention. The examination in this case. We did not have to design the exam from scratch, but we did have to make, time and revise it. In English, and in Dutch!

We are obliged to provide the exact same exam in Dutch

Also in Dutch, yes, since there are students who did not pass this course last year. They had passed all the mandatory components last year, so all they needed to do was the exam. I have seen the occasional student joining the workgroups to catch up on the material – even though taught in English. These students have the right to make the examination in Dutch, so we are obliged to provide the exact same exam in Dutch! Everyone who make exams knows how much work it can be – especially exams with open questions. The exact wording for each question is very important – it is not just a matter of Google Translate and done…!

Besides the exam itself, we had more things on our checklist. We had to make sure all the (international) students could find the Rai Convention Centre: check. Dutch students in a corner with only Dutch exams: check. The occasional Dutch student who prefers to make exam in English, since she’s been to all the English workgroups and all of a sudden actually understands what the material is all about: check.

Students, if you have a minute, please fill in the evaluation form Looking back at this examination week, it was a lot of work – but we managed it well. I hope the students have also perceived it like this. If so, I would love to know what went well for them. If not, I would love to hear how they think it can be improved. All lecturers would like to know, so students, if you have a minute, please fill in the evaluation form (VUnet). As for my students, I think they did great. If I look at my grading so far, most students have actually delivered a great first academic report in quite a good level of academic English! Alright, eighteen more to go…

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