Open-book exams allow students to access and refer to class notes, text books or other approved material.
Crucially, an open-book exam focuses on a student’s understanding of a subject, rather than an ability to simply remember rote learnt information. The teaching and exam preparation approach may have to be adapted to focus, for example, on understanding and application of knowledge rather than simple recall, but I beleive careful exam question prepaation and marking will deliver a more level playing field for students of mixed abilities.
Open-book exams will also allow students to develop and practice their critical and analytical thinking, rather than focusing on “cramming” . Given the wide variety and extent of students’ particular home circumstances, this is a more flexible and adaptable approach to exam preparation.
I believe open-book exams are a sensible, easily implemented and flexible solution to the current situation, and are certainly a better solution than exam cancelation.