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Exam revision, the student experience and ‘revision analytics’: understanding and designing for the student experience prior to examinations

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Rebecca Ferguson
17 May 2016

Simon Cross and Denise Whitelock

Revising for an examination remain a relatively under-researched aspect of the learning experience at The Open University despite revision and subsequent examination being so clearly important to student satisfaction and confidence, the consolidation of learning, performance and progression. Furthermore, increasing interest in assessment analytics suggests that student revision behavior and activity – a ‘revision analytics’ – may help in providing support and guidance to students in the weeks prior to high-stakes assessment. This presentation will investigate the relationships between the revision and examination experience with specific regard to usefulness of revision resources, time spent revising, enjoyment, reflection and learning, exam preparedness and clarity, mark satisfaction and score received. It will use results from an online survey of undergraduate distance learners and, for the first time, contrast student responses on selected modules with VLE data pertaining to revision activity. This represents an important step in extending the scope of assessment analytics and in better understanding of how students revise. Some key questions considered in the data analysis will be: is revising for an exam and the exam itself distinct experiences?; is there a significant correlation between time spent revising, and usefulness of revision resources and module exam score?; and is there evidence that revision for learning, revision design and satisfaction with revision resources impact on the student revision experience? The results will help highlight issues such as the need to apply learning design to weeks when students are tasked with revising for exams, and the need for better capture of information about the students’ experience.

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