After the implementation in record time of videoconference classes and in view of the fact that the government decision, supported and substantiated by the Portuguese Medical Schools Council (CEMP), that face-to-face classes are not resumed, another change was implemented, this time on curriculum assessment. All exams for the Integrated Master Degree in Medicine and the Degree in Nutrition Sciences, as well as for course units of other courses in collaboration with other Schools of the University of Lisbon, became remote. This time through the medQuizz platform and after some adjustments on how to identify and register each student.
The verification of the presence and identification of students in the exams through image, the timing to answer questions, the randomization of exam questions, as well as the mandatory sequential answer to questions without the possibility of reversing to previous answers, were the main points- established by the Board.
A general coordination team was appointed and composed by the Executive Director, Luis Pereira, Informatics, through Rui Fonseca, Sections Area, with Pedro Mendes, Nuno Rodrigues and Alexandra Teixeira and, from the Academic Area, Pedro Marçal.
On 20 May, the first Oncobiology exam took place under the guidance of Professor Carmo Fonseca. At 9 minutes, 375 connected and ready students were in the session.
Even with occasional situations needing adjusting, the tests have been going smoothly. This month, when dialogue becomes more difficult because of the need to study, we wanted to know the first views about this new form of testing. That's what we talked about with Estela Flambó and Miguel Teixeira. But it is also for them and in the current context that we again recall the message of motivation, unity and confidence that the Faculty Director, Fausto J. Pinto, gave to all those who have been struggling daily to overcome all obstacles.
Miguel Teixeira – Year 3 of the IMDM
"Taking online exams raises questions that I think most students did not expect to have to struggle with in their university experience. To begin with, online teaching itself, despite presenting its advantages, is suboptimal teaching, which raises the question of our real preparation for the exam. Then, the exam methodology itself, from a pedagogical point of view, does not seem ideal to me, in particular, the timed questions and the impossibility of going back and reviewing the exam. These factors concern us the most and cause the most pressure during the exam. Each question we answer is completely definitive and we only have 90 seconds to read, think and answer. Personally, I confess that in the vast majority of questions, timing has not been a problem and here I think it is also important to welcome the understanding of the lecturers, who have asked shorter questions, and more direct than usual. Still, several colleagues have reported that they have found timekeeping a major obstacle. Sometimes, the mere presence of the stopwatch makes reasoning difficult. This methodology removes the possibility for students to manage their exam in the way they consider most appropriate. It forces us to take the exam in a box, in which some students fit, others adjust and some, quite simply, do not belong to.
Overall, I think the pressure is above normal. The relinquishment of the idea of video surveillance, from my point of view, had little influence on the way we face and how we behave in exams, it has always been a question more related to privacy. Perhaps the foundations are being laid here for a future of online assessments, but if that is the case, I believe there is still a long way to go."
Estela Flambó – Year 3 IMDM
“These tests have been very atypical. The question of lack of vigilance is something that, in a way, may lead to some behaviours that place some students at an advantage over others, but I believe that on this topic, it turns out to be the conscience of each person who will have to speak up. Undoubtedly, the chronometer in each question adds some anxiety because there are questions that are answered very easily (because they are small and on topics that students have studied quite well) but there are others that require more reflection and the time allocated for each question is sometimes not enough.
The advantage of face-to-face exams, and the big key factor of good performance (in addition to studying, is time management and the strategy that each student has to solve exams. Of course, all these tools end up not working in the new exam typology and therefore end up contributing to increased pre-exam anxiety and nervousness. In addition, the potential for technical failures becomes substantial and, although we have been well monitored so far by the teams assigned for this purpose, there is always an associated uncertainty that accumulates the anxiety and psychological demands typical of an exam period."