Preparation for Examinations

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Tutorial.png Unit 8 

Introduction |Full-Time Equivalency | Provision of Courses | Preparation for Examinations | Examination Performance | Systems Approach | Summary

MEASURE B: Preparation for Examinations

A second measure of FTE considers the inputs required to prepare students to sit the terminal examinations for a particular phase or level of the education system. For example, in most secondary education systems, full-time students must take a course for several years before they are allowed to sit for an external examination. By way of contrast, students registered with some open schools can sit the exam after a single year. This is because the materials provided by the ODL institution cover the entire curriculum and syllabus, which the formal education system only delivers over two or more years. In such a case, we can say that the course load for ODL learners is twice (or more) as heavy as for those studying through the conventional mode. Because of this difference in the work-load for the two modes of delivery, the measure of full-time equivalency should be based on examination subject entries rather than the number of years of coursework (or course/subject enrolments) by students in the two systems.

STEPS in applying this method:

a. Identify the total number of examination subject/course entries by ODL students in the current year.
b. Identify the total number of examination subject/course entries by FT students in the current year.
c. Identify the total number of FT students registered in the current year for the final grade/level before the exam.
d. Divide b by c.
e. Divide a by the outcome of d.




FTEPE = FTE Measure B: Preparation for Exams
TESEODL = Total Examination Subject Entries by ODL students
TESEFT = Total Examination Subject Entries by Full-Time students
TSFT = Total number of Full-Time Students in exam year cohort

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Exercise 8.2

Try you hand at Exercise 8.2 to get some practice at calculating FTE student numbers based on Preparation for Examinations.


In many cases where both full-time and ODL students sit for an external examination, data on examination subject entries is released to the public. Using this information, it is relatively easy to carry out the calculations required for this measure. However, such data is not always readily available or is only published periodically, which may delay the calculation of full-time equivalency. Another advantage of this FTE measure is that it takes account of differences in work loads and the duration of courses in ODL and conventional institutions.

The chief disadvantage of the Preparation for Examination approach is that it does not take into account differences in educational outcomes between the two modes of delivery. In addition, where registration for the examination is a separate process from enrolling for a course, ODL institutions are likely to be disadvantaged because of the higher rate of drop out between the start of the academic year and the deadline for signing up for the examination.