Learning plan before single-student final re-exam
Conference contribution, 2017
As a teacher, are you ever frustrated over being asked to create an extra exam for only one student, when “your” course is the only thing stopping this student from receiving their degree? I will provide one suggestion to help both you and the student, before creating this final re-exam. Together, we will discuss how else we can help the students best, in similar situations, without an unreasonable workload for the teachers.
This round table discussion is mainly keyed for examiners, leaders of programs, and department vice-heads for undergraduate education. It will possibly also be relevant for student counsellors.
When only one course remains before receiving their degree, Chalmers students have the right to request an extra exam (see link below, Reference 1, in Swedish). The examiner decides whether or not to provide this.
Often, the last course remaining for the student is the one that the student has most trouble with. Sometimes, the student will have a long history of failed exams in this course. In such a case, the student needs support in finding a better way of learning before it is useful to provide an extra re-exam.
The student can fill out a learning plan document, where previous exam attempts in this course are analyzed in a structured format. For each failed exam attempt, at least three specific “learning aspects” with identified “room for improved learning” and “plan to achieve learning” are noted. Each identified learning aspect is then keyed (by the student) to the learning goals and course content. Finally, a time schedule with checkpoint actions is created, with a plan for self-guidance and progress reporting to the examiner.
The learning plan document used in my recent pilot study (one student) is available for download at the address listed below under Reference 2.
Single student pilot study:
This method has be tested by me in an obligatory course within one of Chalmers master programs. The student for whom I designed this learning support tool had asked me to create another re-exam, after failing six exams in a row in this course. This was the only exam left before the degree could be requested. I provided the student with the instructions and template for the above mentioned learning plan.
The student’s interpretation of the learning plan document differed substantially from that intended. After several rounds of returns, and pledged “proper” studying, the student was given a chance to be re-examined with a single-student written exam. The results of the seven exams, including the final one which has now been passed, as well as the student’s subjective reflection on the usefulness of this learning support tool will be presented at the onset of the round table discussion.
It should be useful to get input from other Chalmers teachers as to how best to support student learning in challenging final re-exam situations. A revised version of this document, after the round table discussion at KUL would likely be a useful tool to make available to other teachers, possibly via the Education pages on Chalmers Insidan.
1. in English: Instructions for planning and implementation of First and Second-cycle Examinations academic year 2016/17, see page 8 section 2.3 Extra examination dates, available at:
in Swedish: Föreskrifter för planering och genomförande av examination på grund- och avancerad nivå läsåret 2016/17, se sidan 10, rubriken ”2.3 Extra tentamenstillfällen” på länken:
2. Learning plan before single-student-exam, available as pdf and Word document at PingPong activity:
Chalmers, Microtechnology and Nanoscience (MC2), Photonics
Learning and teaching