Opinion: Take home and open note exams are better

Emmy Johnson, Writer

After two years of not having to take exams, Fenton High went back to the books with exam week taking place the week of Jan. 12-14. While locked Google Forms or Illuminate bubble sheets are mostly used, a new format of exam-taking has been discovered: take-home and open-note exams.

A take-home exam, usually open-note with an essay or response question, is like any other exam except it takes place out of a school environment where students can use given material to pass. The idea is to ensure that students have ample time to complete the exam with in-depth study and answers. 

Taking home exams allows students ample time to study, do the exam stress-free and submit it with their best work possible— compared to limited time to complete exams where anxiety and stress is at an all-time high. 

While the integrity of students and the fear of cheating is afoot, setting boundaries and the punishments of cheating can squash these fears. Cheating isn’t the only concern, studying is as well.. Some teachers recommend making an assignment study guide to be turned in or the use of the material in the exam that must be studied to encourage students.

A lot of the time teachers are iffy about giving out take-home exams as cheating and plagiarism are a big concern.

If you decide to give a take-home exam, consider having a discussion in advance of the exam around academic integrity with respect to this kind of open-ended assignment,” the Harvard University website stated.Ask your students to articulate why it is important to do their own work.”

Another concern of teachers is applying open-note exams to their subjects. Many English teachers give out take-home exams as essays or long response questions, teachers of other subjects like math or science wonder how to distribute take-home exams with a curriculum that is so dense.

Mathematics and sciences may have a harder time applying themselves to take-home exams, but take-home exams don’t need to measure students being engaged by long written responses— using the same exam that was used the previous year is okay.

Taking home exams allows students to study easier, take exams easier, stress less during preparation, and makes it easier to score higher on exams with course material to reference beside them.