JET Logo

  The Journal of Effective Teaching
an online journal devoted to teaching excellence


Journal of Effective Teaching, Vol. 16, No. 1, 2016  

Green, S. G., Ferrante, C. J., & Heppard, K. A. (2016). Using Open-Book Exams to Enhance Student Learning, Performance, and Motivation. The Journal of Effective Teaching, 16(1), 19-35. [Full Text]


This study investigated an alternative testing protocol used in an undergraduate managerial accounting course. Specifically, we assert that consistent open-book testing approaches will enhance learning and better prepare students for the real-world decision-making they will encounter. A semester-long testing protocol was executed incorporating a mix of open-book and closed-book pre-quizzes, and open-book major exams. Findings indicated that students taking open-book pre-quizzes performed better on open-book final exams, but not other major exams. Our research approach also revealed preliminary indications that our students value their textbooks more, and used them more frequently and extensively, to prepare for class using open-book testing protocols as opposed to using traditional closed-book testing procedures. Also, preliminary indications reveal that alternatives to traditional closed-book testing enhance student satisfaction with courses and textbooks, and provide the potential to improve studentsí experiences in the workplace. We encouraged future quantitative studies with robust research designs dedicated to addressing these preliminary indications and provide several suggestions for future research.


Keywords: Open-book exams, closed-book exams, assessment, assurance of learning, education.