Open-book examinations: asset or liability in business education?

Authors: Vivienne Sampson and Mary Zajkowski

Abstract: This paper reports an investigation at a large New Zealand Polytechnic of second-level business students’ views on the use of textbooks in examinations. Students’ perceptions of their examination performance were compared with their actual marks in both open-book taxation and closed-book accounting examinations. Results suggest the existence of a relationship between the capacity for realistic evaluation of the ability and the demonstration of that ability through examination performance. These students preferred open-book examinations for reasons of refreshing memory, providing references, finding formulae and achieving higher marks than in closed-book examinations. Students' experiences and perceptions of open-book and closed-book examinations provide reassurance for permitting the continuing use of textbooks in taxation examinations.