Cirrus Hidden Gems: Give Candidates A Second Chance With Resits

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Everyone deserves a second chance.  No matter how well prepared, sometimes your candidates will fail an exam. In the maze of academic testing, ‘resits’ often occupy a puzzling corner. Simplified, a ‘resit’ is a second opportunity given to a candidate to pass an exam that they previously failed. However, the real gem hides in the intricate details of its application and the benefits it provides for end users. In this edition of Hidden Gems, we’ll delve into the world of resits, highlighting their advantages in the learning process and functionality in Cirrus.

Everyone deserves a second chance. No matter how well prepared, sometimes your candidates will fail an exam. In the maze of academic testing, ‘resits’ often occupy a puzzling corner. Simplified, a ‘resit’ is a second opportunity given to a candidate to pass an exam that they previously failed. However, the real gem hides in the intricate details of its application and the benefits it provides for end users. In this edition of Hidden Gems, we’ll delve into the world of resits, highlighting their advantages in the learning process and functionality in Cirrus.

Why should I care about Resits?

At first glance, the idea of a resit might seem disheartening, a reminder of an unsuccessful first attempt. But here’s where the hidden treasure lies – it is an opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed. With the Cirrus resit feature, your candidates will get:

A second chance

We’re all human, and bad days can happen to anyone. Perhaps your candidates were under the weather, had a personal issue, or simply didn’t grasp the material in time for the exam. A resit provides a second chance, and it ensures that a momentary lapse doesn’t cost them an entire course or certification. It represents a fair and understanding approach to assessment, allowing them to overcome the stumbling blocks and reach their academic goals.

Learning reinforcement

Resits encourage a deeper understanding of the subject matter, pushing candidates to revisit, review, and reinforce the course materials.

Reduced stress

The pressure associated with one-off exams can be tremendous. The ‘do or die’ model may lead to anxiety and stress, which can adversely affect performance, causing candidates to underperform relative to their actual capabilities. Resits offer a safety net, alleviating some of this stress. When candidates know they have a second chance to prove their knowledge, it often allows them to approach the initial exam with a calmer, more focused mindset. This can help not only their mental health but also their academic performance.

Improved scoring metrics

With Cirrus’ resit system, every resit is conducted using a different test form. This prevents memorisation of questions and answers from the previous test, ensuring that the resit evaluates the candidate’s understanding of the subject matter rather than their memory of specific questions. By ensuring the resit is not identical to the original test, it maintains the integrity and fairness of the assessment process. This practice allows for a more holistic evaluation of the candidate’s knowledge, ultimately leading to more accurate scoring metrics.

How does it work? 

The fundamental concept of a resit in Cirrus is straightforward: You simply create another schedule of the same Assessment for those candidates who fail their exams. There are a few things to keep in mind, though: 

First, if an exam utilises fixed forms, the resit will be the same as the original exam. Therefore, we recommend utilising either Multiple Forms or a Single Random Form. 

  • Multiple Forms: This approach ensures a unique test for every resit. If you’ve set up forms A, B, and C, and candidate ‘X’ initially took form B and failed, their resit will automatically utilise either form A or C. 

Important: You must enable the ‘Random test form’ option in the Test Settings (option 10 in the screenshot above) and ensure you have multiple forms available to ensure candidates receive a different form in the resit attempt. 

Moreover, it’s crucial to maintain consistency in the difficulty levels of the questions across forms to ensure fairness. We recommend you check that the average P-value (see screenshot below) is the same across the various forms. 

  • Single form with Random Question Selection (or Linear On the Fly Testing): If you’d prefer not to use the Multiple Form option, you can also choose to use a single form with random questions. In this case, Cirrus will randomly select a new set of questions for every resit. However, please note that there is no way to prevent question repetition if you have a smaller question bank. 

For example, consider the following scenario: The assessment contains 15 questions of which 10 are used in the original exam. A resit will then always have an overlap of at least 5 questions, something you would wish to prevent in most cases. 

Important: To use this option for resits, you would ideally have a substantial question bank, to ensure diversity and fairness.

Please note: Resits should not be confused with multiple attempts. Multiple attempts are only used in formative testing: Here, candidates can immediately retake the exam after the first attempt, and  either the last or best attempt will count. This option should not be used for Resits. Resits are separate instances of exams that are scheduled after the initial exam is failed.

Getting Started with Resits

Resits are freely available in Cirrus for all users. Simply ensure that you are using Multiple Forms with the ‘Random Form’ option select and have multiple forms ready for use, or use Linear On the Fly Testing (Single Form with Random Questions) with a sufficiently large item bank. 

Resits, when applied effectively, are not merely second chances. They’re tools for reinforcing knowledge, reducing stress, and promoting fairness in academic evaluation. By unlocking the power of resits, we can encourage continual learning and, ultimately, success.

For more information, please, as always, visit our Knowledge Base.  

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Mathijs Urbanus
Mathijs heads up Cirrus' Customer Support Team. With his technical expertise and experience helping our diverse customers get the most out of Cirrus, he knows the platform like no other.
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