Friday, 17 December 2010

Exams - everything is so last minute

The set 2 have just sat their end of first study block exams. They had 5 days of exams testing their knowledge on a variety of subjects - antenatal care, drug calculations, anatomy and physiology, fundamentals of midwifery, ICT to name but a few subjects.
All the 5 midwifery tutors who taught components of the training were required to set the exam paper based on the subject they had taught.
An exam chair was appointed and one other person to assist. The exam chair was another VSO - she had not set exams before and neither had the person who was appointed to assist the exam chair.
All the questions were given to the exam chair - all hand written - even though they were asked to send it by email. This was to make the exam question selection and formatting of the exam paper easier.
It turnes out that the tutors could not or where unable to send emails. This needs addressing - the students are having ICT lessons and many of them are learning fast!
The exam chair was given several reasons why emails could not be sent - including not knowing how the log off.
The exam chair felt really overwhelmed with having to choose exam questions and type and format into an exam paper for each subject.
I spent time together with the exam chair - the whole of the weekend just prior to the exam week typing up exam questions, choosing the questions from a selection the tutors had written and checking spellings, grammar before the final copy was approved.
The exam papers where shrouded in secrecy in case the questions were leaked. So much so the exam chair was asked to organise a trip to Freetown (not an easy journey) to get the papers photocopied. This was however done locally due to the practicalities.
The exams were due to start last Monday at 9.00. I was concerned that the photocopying would not be ready in time.
I was told by one of the tutors that when they sat some exams recently they had to sit and wait for the professor to arrive with the exam papers - he arrived so late they sat the exam that day in the dark - using torches!!!
I really wanted the Midwifery School in Makeni to do better than that!
I hope when set 1 come to sit their end of second block exams - many lessons will have been learn from this late preparation.
Amazingly - all the exams went smoothly and the correct exams where taken on the correct day at the correct time.
Then the marking had to be done - MCQ x 66, essay questions x 66 and for me an additional paper for an 'assessment' mark x 66!!!
They are all done and recorded - but how the questions were answered is another blog story!!!
The set 2 students are now out on their first clinical placement.

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