Oral examination assessment practices: effectiveness and change within a first year undergraduate cohort

Oakley, Ben and Hencken, Clare (2005). Oral examination assessment practices: effectiveness and change within a first year undergraduate cohort. Journal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sport and Tourism Education, 4(1) pp. 3–14.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3794/johlste.41.88

Abstract

This paper evaluates the implementation and effectiveness of an oral examination piloted on four sports degree programmes in level one with a good sample size (n = 157). The assessment attributes of reliability, acceptability and educational impact were analyzed using quantitative methods supplemented with focus groups. In terms of reliability, there was clear evidence of a significant moderate correlation (r = 0.53, P < .05) of oral examination marks with students' mean overall end of year performance, excluding the oral and other written examinations (r = 0.53, P <; .05). There was overall acceptance of the value of oral examinations amongst three of the four degree cohorts studied, but a more mixed reaction from sports science students. The educational impact of this form of assessment suggests that it motivates many students, particularly females, to prepare harder than for traditional exams. Evidence also indicates that most students recognize the close vocational links of this type of assessment. Detailed issues were identified within focus groups that informed improvements to the oral protocol. These, along with the implementation costs, are discussed and a number of practical recommendations made. The study was funded by the Higher Education Academy's Hospitality, Leisure, Sport and Tourism Network.

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