open-book examination

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Examinations where candidates are permitted to take in with them, or are otherwise provided with, copies of the texts on which they are being examined, or of key texts related to the subject in question. In an English literature open‐book examination, for example, candidates are able to refer to, and quote from, set texts in order to develop and support the arguments on which their essay‐style answers are based. The rationale for allowing books into examinations is based on the belief that the ability of the candidate to memorize, for example, long passages of text or lists of dates is less meaningful educationally than their skills of comprehension and synthesis, and that it is therefore more appropriate to construct and conduct examinations in such a way as to test the latter rather than the former. This concept of higher and lower orders of skills owes much to the categorizations set out in Bloom's Taxonomy. See also rote learning.

Subjects: Education.

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