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Assessment and examination formats

The way in which expected learning outcomes are assessed, i.e. the form(s) of assessment, must always be stated in the course syllabus, both in terms of compulsory components and the number of forms of assessment. The examination formats are to be chosen with regard to the types of knowledge stated in the learning outcomes for the course, for example, knowledge and understanding, competence and skills, and judgement and approach. All ways of testing the student’s knowledge that earn grades are to be specified. If the teaching on the course involves purely formative assessments (i.e. various exercises where the student’s knowledge is assessed, but where the result does not earn grades), this should be stated under ‘Form of teaching’. However, if participation in these exercises is compulsory, this is to be stated here as it is then regarded as part of the examination.

‘Peer assessment’ (i.e. an element of teaching whereby the students themselves assess each other’s performance in various types of task (with or without criteria produced by the teacher)) may be, but is not necessarily, part of the examination. However, it is always an examiner and not students who are responsible for the assessment made during an examination. The task is to be stated here if grades are earned from the results or the implementation of the task. The general rule is that there must be no limit on the number of sessions in which a student may take an exam. The number of sessions in which an exam can be taken or equivalent may be limited for a student if the right to an unlimited number of sessions would lead to an unreasonable consumption of the University’s resources. Any such limitation must be specified in the course syllabus and justified in the decision to establish the course syllabus. If a higher education institution limits the number of sessions in which a student may take an exam in order to complete a course or part of a course, the number of sessions shall be at least five. If satisfactory completion of a course or part of a course requires successful completion by the student of a placement or equivalent, the number of prescribed periods of placement or equivalent shall be at least two (see Chapter 6 Section 21 of the Higher Education Ordinance).

Specify whether supplementation of assessment(s) is permitted.

Students who, for various reasons, has not been able to be present for compulsory components must be given the opportunity to attend an equivalent compulsory component as soon as possible. Where a compulsory component can be replaced by an alternative assignment, this is to be specified.

The following three paragraphs must always be included in a course syllabus:

  • A student who has taken two exams in a course or part of a course without obtaining a pass grade is entitled to the nomination of another examiner. The student needs to contact the department for a new examiner, preferably in writing, and this should be approved by the department unless there are special reasons to the contrary (Chapter 6 Section 22 of the Higher Education Ordinance).

  • If a student has received a recommendation from the University of Gothenburg for special educational support, where it is compatible with the learning outcomes of the course and provided that no unreasonable resources are required, the examiner may decide to allow the student to sit an adjusted exam or alternative form of assessment.

  • In the event that a course has ceased or undergone major changes, students are to be guaranteed at least three examination sessions (including the ordinary examination session) over a period of at least one year, but no more than two years, after the course has ceased/been changed. The same applies to placements and professional placements (VFU), although this is restricted to just one additional examination session.

Remember that summative examination formats should also be formative in the sense that they should, as far as possible, comprise another opportunity for the student to learn things and further consolidate their knowledge.

Read more

More information about different examination formats within institutes of higher education in Sweden and their advantages and disadvantages are available in this document (only available in Swedish):

Examination – en exempelsamling [Examinations – a collection of examples]

Information on legally secure examinations is available (in Swedish) in this guide from the Swedish Higher Education Authority:

Rättssäker examination [Legally secure examinations]

Contact person for Writing a course syllabus

Olof Siverbo
Send e-mail to Olof

Page Manager: Olof Siverbo|Last update: 2/2/2023

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