n South African Journal of Higher Education - Let's stop complaining about low cognitive levels of testing in time-limited examinations : the case for fair testing practices

Volume 21, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



This article describes the process of determining cognitive levels of testing in first and second-year university chemistry examinations and emanates from a larger study in which explanations were sought for problems experienced by second-year students in chemistry at the University of the Witwatersrand. A user-friendly scheme for establishing cognitive levels of questions was developed and this was used to determine the cognitive level of questions in 25 different examination papers written over a period of three years. It was found that testing at both first and second year level was predominantly at level II (comprehension). Possible reasons for this finding are explored and justified.

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