“Oral exam is an art form” – Danish Upper Secondary Students Attending Oral Exams in History and English

Bidragets oversatte titel: "Mundtlig eksamen er en kunst" - Danske gymnasieelever til mundtlig eksamen i Historie og Engelsk

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftPaperForskningpeer review


The presentation focuses on oral examination in Danish upper secondary high school from a student
perspective. Since official law documents regarding oral exams are vague about what the exams are
assessing, the aim of the paper is to investigate case-students’ processes preparing for the oral
exams and their investigations of its criteria. Theoretical concepts are Bitzer’s Rhetorical situation’s
demand for a ‘fitting response’(Bitzer, 1968), and Moje’s concept of student navigations in a
disciplinary literacy-framework (Moje, 2013). By analyzing data from a five-month fieldwork covering
student interviews, students’ written notes, classroom and exam observation, I ask: What is a fitting
response at the oral exam in the disciplines of History and English? How do students navigate the
complexities of the exam response?
In oral History-exam, the student gets 10-15 pages of unknown historical source material and has 24
hours of preparation to define questions and answer them in a presentation and a dialogue with two
teacher-assessors for 20 minutes. Oral exam in English gives the student 60 minutes to read and
analyze an unknown English text before the exam.
Oral examinations have only been researched sporadically in Denmark (Nissen, 2019) and only
scattered internationally (Dobson, 2007; Joughin, 2003; Kvifte, 2011; Maugesten, 2011). The
contribution of this study is to investigate the complexities of the intersection and transition
between classroom teaching and assessment.
Results show that students struggle to express what a fitting exam response is. One case-student
navigates the policy documents and the stated criteria in the classroom context, while the second
case-student navigates by observing classroom interactions and feels criteria rather than expresses
them. The third case-student was frustrated since neither documents or classroom practices were
useful in her navigation towards a fitting exam response. Respecting the disciplinary boundaries
proved important, even though this was never stated.
Bidragets oversatte titel"Mundtlig eksamen er en kunst" - Danske gymnasieelever til mundtlig eksamen i Historie og Engelsk
Publikationsdato11. aug. 2021
Antal sider3
StatusUdgivet - 11. aug. 2021
BegivenhedQUINT PhD Summer Institute 2021 - University of Oslo, Oslo, Norge
Varighed: 30. aug. 20211. sep. 2021


KonferenceQUINT PhD Summer Institute 2021
LokationUniversity of Oslo