Exam Timing (Part A)

Question: Should I time my tests? 

Answer: The answer depends on two things: (1) the purpose of the test and (2) the ‘time-dependent’ nature of the competency you are testing. If the test is being used as a self-assessment then its intent is primarily instructional. If that’s the case you may choose not to time the test, giving the learner time to look up/study what he/she does not know. The test score doesn’t count, but the learning does. The other circumstance in which you might choose not to time the test is if there is not a time-dependence to the competency. In the normal course of business most questions we are asked we can answer quickly, but occasionally we need to research the correct answer, and that could take hours, depending on the complexity of the question (remember take-home tests in school?). Of course most of what we test for is time dependent (we expect learners to either know the answer or to be able to figure it out quickly), but you can be the judge if an untimed test is sometimes appropriate for your assessment requirements. 

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