Two-stage Examinations in STEM: A Narrative Literature Review
Written, invigilated examinations are valued for their reliability, economy and academic integrity. Nevertheless, examinations are problematic. Final, summative examinations can disadvantage students who experience assessment anxiety, and students may not receive useable feedback. An alternative is the two-stage examination, where a traditional examination is followed by a group examination with similar questions. Students gain peer feedback on their examination performance, and can meaningfully apply this feedback. Use of this format in tertiary STEM education in universities has indicated that students prefer the format, although it has been little studied in Australia. Furthermore, its effects on reducing stress and fostering deeper learning are not well understood. The COVID-19 pandemic and switch to online learning has provided us with an opportunity to review our assessment practices and has led to a new willingness to test different examination formats. Here we provide a narrative review of the results of previous studies on two-stage examinations and, based on this and our experience teaching in large-cohort introductory biology courses at an Australian university, we propose a formula for employing them in this context.