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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - E-Assessment

Choice of the exam type

Many of the traditional forms of examination can also be carried out as e-assessments or e-examinations with the help of electronic information and communication technologies. However, the didactic, organisational, legal and technical requirements for the examination form usually change.

Forms of examination permitted at HU

In § 96 ZSP-HU (Interdisciplinary Statutes for the Regulation of Admission, Studies and Examinations, 8th Change, as of 19.5.2020), the following examination forms are listed for the module final examinations (MAP) as a general guideline for all faculties (sorted by medium):

Written forms of examination (in presence and / or distance)

  • Written exams (as closed-book, open-book or take-home exams),
  • Homework (e.g. seminar papers, term papers),
  • Portfolios (e.g. as an assignment in Moodle combined with the (multimedia) e-portfolio system Mahara),
  • Essays (as closed-book, open-book or take-home exams),
  • Electronic exams (~ written supervisory work in presence, e.g. at the PC pool in the Grimm Centre),
  • Multiple choice tests (as closed-book or open-book exam).


Written and oral form of examination (in presence and / or distance)

  • Multimedia exams (e.g. (interactive) presentations, explanatory videos)


Oral examination form (in presence and/or distance)

  • Oral exams (e.g. in language courses or in rehabilitation science)


Practical examination form (in presence)

  • Practical exams (e.g. sports or laboratory exams)

In the individual examination regulations, these forms of examination can be specified for the institutes and faculties, so that further forms of examination can be added, such as a presentation (e.g. Thaer Institute), oral group examination (e.g. Physics), teaching unit examination (e.g. Faculty of Law), poster (e.g. Rehabilitation Sciences) or take-home exam (e.g. Northern Europe Institute). In addition, there is generally the option to apply to the responsible examination board for a (justified) change in the form of examination intended for a MAP.


Special features of the implementation as an e-examination

Most of the above-mentioned forms of examination can also be implemented electronically, i.e. as e-examinations, but the general conditions are different:

For example, an examination can be made available digitally (e.g. open-book examination) or even processed digitally (e.g. multiple choice). In addition, examinations can be conducted at different times, when there is no longer only one possible exam, but possibly many different exams due to a pool of tasks.

However, electronic distance examinations also raise questions about the proper identification and prevention of cheating attempts or the long-term secure storage of all examination data and the inspection of examinations in accordance with data protection regulations.

Important: The basic rule at HU Berlin is that written or material-based e-examinations are processed via the Moodle system (examination courses) in order to enable standardised and secure archiving of digital examination results.


Different types of evaluation of e-exams

In contrast to "paper and pencil" examinations, which must all be evaluated by hand, the electronic examination form "multiple choice" can also be evaluated automatically (= time saving in evaluation).  Separate regulations apply for this (cf. § 96c ZSP-HU, 8th change), e.g. that the tasks are to be set by two examiners, since minimal input errors could lead to considerable consequences (evaluation errors and thus failure of an examination).

This procedure can be combined with other forms of examinations to create a mixed procedure of automatic and manual evaluation (semi-automatic).This is interesting because special regulations on multiple choice tests provide for an absolute and a relative pass limit, which, however, no longer apply if the proportion of the multiple choice test does not exceed 25% of the total score (§ 96c (6) ZSP-HU, 8th change).

As soon as any form of automatic evaluation is dispensed with, e.g. in the case of coherent text answers (essays etc.), the evaluation must be done by hand (non-automatically). Nevertheless, it may make sense to conduct the examination electronically, e.g. to avoid the need to decipher handwriting.


Minimum technical requirements for e-examinations

E-examinations require that the server (HU), client systems (students and/or HU) and network technology (students and HU) are functioning. The CMS provides all members of the Humboldt-Universität with the software necessary for digital teaching and electronic examinations after it has passed the legally prescribed approval procedure and a data protection check (ZSP-HU § 107a, 4). As a rule, these are software solutions that are independent of the operating system and run largely without problems with various configurations (e.g. browser). However, rather unusual system settings and/or very old hardware solutions on the part of the examinees could be responsible for impairments in the range of functions. Therefore, it is essential to consider the necessary minimum requirements already in the context of the decision for a form of examination, e.g. smartphone with the Moodle app. A technical test run should also be part of the exam preparation, in which the operation of the software, the way the exam is conducted (e.g. uploading files in a certain format) and, if necessary, the required hardware (e.g. microphone) can be tried out.

(status 2/17/2021)