I'm teaching a unit this semester that involves an in-class test. The students will be required to conduct a textual analyse of a video using the themes/unit literature etc to help formulate their responses. This is for a sociology unit.

It is a large unit and there will undoubtedly be students that will need to sit a make-up test at a later date (as long as they have appropriate documentation).

I will change the video for the second test, but I was wondering, should I also change the questions on the make-up test? Or should I leave the test questions? They are not straight correct/incorrect answers but rather, questions that ask students to use critical thinking and analysis skills to analyse the video contents in relation to the unit themes (short essay style).

There are no policies or procedures at my university that highlight what a make-up test should entail, so I'm at a bit of a loss as to what might be the best way to go about this to ensure fairness to both students who take the test on-time, and those who sit a make-up.


1 Answer 1


It all boils down to this: Would you consider publishing the questions before the first exam?

If knowing the questions in advance help them in any way provides an unfair advantage, the make up should be changed. Otherwise, they can remain the same.

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    Careful, though: by changing the questions, you could inadvertently give an unfair disadvantage to the students taking the makeup exam, if the revised questions turn out to be more difficult than the original ones. (You may say "make the revised questions exactly as difficult as the original ones" but that is much easier to say than to do.) This could be an unavoidable risk, but it's a risk that should be taken into account. Commented Jan 23, 2015 at 23:35
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    @NateEldredge If the make-up questions are generated according to the same procedure as the questions for the first exam (e.g. if 2n many questions are written and then divided randomly into n many for the first exam and n many for the make-up exam) then, although the make-up exam questions might end up being harder or easier, one could argue that this would not constitute an unfair disadvantage or advantage. Commented Jan 24, 2015 at 3:10

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