Update on Exams

Nyenrode has several Exam Committees with a Central Exam Committee above them (see below). Nyenrode’s Central Exam Committee has delegated various tasks in the field of assessment quality to the Assessment Committee, which operates for all degree programs at the university. “As an Assessment Committee, we have a supervisory task, we provide advice, and we provide internal training courses for faculty and staff,” Remko Renes, chairman of the Assessment Committee, says.  

Quality assurance 

“As a result of feedback from the NVAO, guaranteeing the quality of our exams has gained increasing importance on the agenda, and is more frequently the subject of debate among faculty members and with program management. Among other things, we have worked out how programs can guarantee that exams meet essential criteria, summarized in a checklist where faculty and program management can keep track of this. We also facilitate peer reviews in which teachers assess each other’s exams. In workshops, we provide training in testing and examination, which includes information on what good questions are and how to set up a test matrix.” 

“Last year, we invested in the quality and knowledge of testing. The members of the Assessment Committee have followed a Basic Qualification Exam (BKE) and Senior Qualification Exam (SKE) training provided by Cito. Last year, Ferdy van Beest was our first teacher to be awarded the SKE certificate cum laude.” 

Technology in order 

From spring 2020, however, physical learning meetings at Nyenrode were no longer possible due to the corona pandemic. “However, Nyenrode wanted to prevent students from falling behind in their studies and so it had to be made possible that students could not only attend lectures from home but also take their exams,” Renes says.  

As a result of the successful Digital Assessment project – part of Nyenrode’s  Business Optimization Program  - we have properly organized and gained experience with the facilities at Nyenrode to conduct digital assessments on location in the sports hall. The Wi-Fi network there was also improved, and students were able to take their exams on Chromebooks using Cirrus software.  

Testing in the home environment 

“In the CEC+, an Exam Committee established for the corona period, we started investigating from March 24, 2020 whether we could offer online tests from home environment and how we could best do that. If a teacher wants to take a test in a different way than has been determined in advance, this must always be assessed by the Assessment Committee and approved by the Exam Committee.” 

“The interests of the students must always come first, and an important condition for tests from home was that the quality of the exams had to be maintained. With the Cirrus software, we were technically ready; however, most teachers had no experience with digital testing yet. After all, that requires more than just knowledge of the software, but also educational and didactic skills.” 

“In a situation like this, I strongly believe that it is best to entice people to participate. That works better than simply imposing a new method from above. Digital testing with the help of Cirrus software also offers very nice, new possibilities, both in the type of questions and for correcting and administering afterwards. A new world of possibilities has opened up for many teachers.” 

Moral-ethical analysis and policy 

“From Nyenrode, we have also participated in several consultations with other universities. We saw they had all chosen their own path but share experiences very openly with each other. The Proctorio tool is an addition to the Cirrus testing system, which can replace traditional surveillance during home examinations with a webcam and a microphone and assess whether the student is complying with the rules.” 

“Because the introduction thereof has a major impact on the privacy of the student, we have opted to perform a moral-ethical analysis first. In addition to the Exam Committee, teachers, students, and the privacy officer also took part. New assessment policy has been formulated on the basis of the results of that analysis. We have also made an inventory among our students of any technical issues that could stand in the way of home testing.” 

“We have followed very clear, careful, and transparent procedures. Because exams on the Nyenrode campus were and are still not possible, we have decided that the importance of the student being able to complete their studies outweighs the loss of privacy due to surveillance by Proctorio. Students can always object in individual cases. Then we will try to find solutions.” 

“For reasons of due care, we would also like to gain insight into the differences between the recent exam results on campus and the exam results from home. To this end, we have done an analysis of approximately fifty thousand exams.” 

“I am incredibly proud that as a small university, we have been able to offer all our students the opportunity to avoid falling behind in their studies, while maintaining the quality of the examination. An awful lot of work has been done by a small group of people, in addition to their normal duties, to make this possible. And of course, there are certainly things that could be improved, but in general, teachers and students are quite satisfied.” 

Exam Committees

Exam Committees perform an important task at Nyenrode Business University: they are responsible by law for assuring the quality of exams and final examinations.  

Nyenrode has several Exam Committees: 

  • Joost van Buuren is chairman of the Exam Committee for the Accountancy & Controlling programs and the Master in Fiscal Law. 
  • Jack van der Veen is chairman of the Exam Committee for the General Management programs.  
  • Nyenrode New Business School in Amsterdam with its BBA has its own Exam Committee, chaired by Pepijn Trietsch. The BBA program in Amsterdam is scaled back.  

Their purpose is to determine, in an independent and expert way, that each student has satisfied the requirements for the award of a degree set by the program concerned.  

The Exam Committees are united in a central Exam Committee, also chaired by Joost van Buuren. The central Exam Committee consults with the Rector Magnificus.  

The Nyenrode Central Exam Committee has delegated various assessment quality tasks to the Assessment Committee, which operates for all degree programs at the university.