*By:** Martha Diede, Center for Teaching and=
Learning Excellence, Syracuse University*

Rather than plan on large exams, consider smaller, low-stakes assessment= s for courses with an online component. These assessments give students the= opportunity to demonstrate what they know and give faculty the opportunity= to see where gaps are appearing in students=E2=80=99 knowledge and skill a= cquisition. Faculty might also consider assessments alternative to exams, p= articularly exams that derive their questions from test banks.

Students might be able to suggest other ways that they can show you that=
they have met the course outcomes. These suggestions might take advantage =
of new technologies or use existing technologies in new ways. However =
you construct your assessments, be sure to include three clear parts: purpo=
se (why?), task (what you want them to do) and criteria (what you will eval=
uate to determine whether the student passed or earned a specific letter gr=
ade). Consider this information from&n=
bsp;*Inside Higher Ed*.

**To adjust your exam for students who have tested COVID-positive =
and need to isolate:**

If the student is well enough to take the exam, you might offer it onlin= e at the same time as the in-person exam using Blackboard and its timing fu= nction. That way the time is limited and you don=E2=80=99t have the r= isk of exam items being communicated out because the exams are administered= at the same time.

If the student is too ill to take the exam simultaneously with your in-p= erson students, you might need to consider an alternative open book (and pe= rhaps time limited) test where at least a few of the items demand the kind = of critical thinking contextualized to the course, using questions that are= n't easily searched online.

Consider giving all students an open-book, open-note exam in which you i= ncrease the difficulty to the questions so that students need to be able to= recall and use information, and where time to look up information if they = haven't prepared is insufficient.

**Below are some possible ideas for assignments to replace a tradi=
tional exam:**

- A single slide, formatted like an academic poster, that summarizes the = information from the unit/module/section of the course.
- A brief video in which students explain the course concepts in each uni= t.
- A brief video in which students use the course concepts/learning to sug= gest a solution to a contemporary problem.
- A concept map showing how the cou= rse content from the week/unit/module/semester connects.
- A problem to solve that requires the use of knowledge and skills includ= ed in your course outcomes.
- An infographic presenting the most essential course concepts/learning.<= /li>

**Some additional ways to make cheating difficult are as follows:<=
/strong>**

- Switch up 30% of exam questions.
- Focus on learning, not performance.
- Use random blocks in setting up exams in Blackboard.
- Rework test-bank questions by reversing them. Start with the correct an= swer from the multiple choices, then use the question stem to create the an= swer(s).
- Set the exam to show only one question at a time.
- Set a 15-minute window during which students can sign in. If students d= on't sign-in during that time period, have them email you to explain why. T= his technique provides you an opportunity to provide an equivalent, but dif= ferent exam.
- Limit exam length time so that students will not be able to look up out= side sources to find answers.
- Design questions to encourage persistence and resilience.

Consider questions like these ones sugges= ted by Francis S= u:

Tak= e one homework problem you have worked on this semester that you struggled = to understand and solve, and explain how the struggle itself was valuable.<= /span> In the context of this questio= n, describe the struggle and how you overcame the struggle. You might also = discuss whether struggling built aspects of character in you (e.g. enduranc= e, self-confidence, competence to solve new problems) and how these virtues= might benefit you in later ventures.

OR<= /span>

- Plan for students to use online tools to find answers to question= s.
- Have students record themselves taking the exam and submit that recordi= ng.
- Ask questions that require students to show what they've learned and to= put together information that they've found.
- Engage students in designing exam questions to show their knowledge and= learning.
- Incorporate some writing-to-learn strategies such as reflection questions.=

Consider reducing the motivation to cheat.

- Allow students to drop their lowest test scores.
- Use the mixed delivery and online requirements to your favor. Give mult= iple, lower-stakes exams or quizzes. Homework can also count as an assessme= nt especially if students have to stretch just one or two steps beyond what= you've covered in class.
- Consider changing your approach to teaching, even if only for one unit.= For example, Inquiry-Based Learning is an equity-c= entered teaching strategy that can make cheating tough, and it works for ma= ny disciplines. Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) is= another equity-centered teaching strategy that makes cheating challenging.=
- Plan for students to work together to complete assessments that demonst= rate them building skills and knowlege.
- Tell students the "why" of the exam. If they have to know and show that= they can solve big problems because they're going to be designing bridges,= building airplanes, and working on projects that impact people, let = them know that. Remind them that they are in a safe environment where not s= ucceeding is encouraged when it helps the instructor-learner pair to determ= ine what learning needs to be continued, repeated, or reimagined for succes= s.

Please also keep in mind that online visual and auditory tasks are espec= ially challenging for students who have visual and hearing exceptionalities= . Consider contacting the Center for Disability Resources = to ensure you support all of your students.

If you do opt for a test, remind students that taking a test by mobile p= hone might not be the best option. Also encourage students who have sub-opt= imal internet access to communicate with you regarding testing.

In challenging circumstances, allowing some flexibility in demonstrating= acheivement of course outcomes can help all of the students in your class.=