Practical test

A practical test is an exam in which physical/artistic abilities/skill-sets are put to the test in practice. This could be a dissection exercise, for example, or a sports exercise, or a musical performance. If the practical test comprises several sub-elements, it can be comparable to an OSCE/OSPE.

This assessment method is able to test students’ collaborative competences if the practical test is conducted as a group exam.

Learning objective that can be addressed using this assessment method
Knowledge of theory, method and practice  
Understanding and reflecting on theory, method and practice  
Applying methods and tools  X
Assessing problem definitions and selecting solution models  
Communicate and discuss academic issues (X)
Dealing with complex situations – in the context of studying or work  
Ability to independently initiate collaboration (X)
Taking responsibility for personal learning and development  

X indicates that this assessment method is suitable for testing the learning outcome. (X) indicates that this assessment method is of only limited use for this.

Evaluating the method of assessment

Assessment Criteria
Validity Content validity will vary depending on how much of the practical content of the subject can in fact be examined in this way. High construct validity can be ensured by having clear criteria for the level of complexity of abilities (e.g. what distinguishes a well-executed somersault from one that is not so well executed).
Reliability Reliability can be high provided that clear marking criteria have been set.

The more (described) elements of practical execution, the more reliable the exam
Backwash effect from testing to teaching If a subject can only be evaluated via a practical test, there will be a tendency for students to give lower priority to any supplementary theoretical academic content.
Resources Depending on the length of time required to perform the practical test, this type of exam can be cost-intensive if a lot of students are involved. This problem can be mitigated if the practical test can be taken as part of the teaching.
Digitisation The practical test can potentially be taken at a different location and recorded digitally. In some cases, this could be included as documentation that the student has reached the practical learning target. For example, a digital recording of a recital could conceivably take the place of a practical test with an examiner present.
Acceptance There is widespread acceptance of testing practical abilities/skill-sets with a practical test.