The Impact of Take-home Open-book Examinations due to COVID-19 among Business Students. Do Gender, Age, and Academic Skills Matter?


  • Leiv Opstad Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Ivar Pettersen Norwegian University of Science and Technology



Online exam, Home-based exam, Traditional in-class exam, Business students, Grade, Performance, Gender, Age


Due to COVID-19, numerous universities and colleges have been forced to arrange home-based exams in many countries. We know relatively little about what consequences this might have for the ranking of students based on qualifications in the various subjects. This is an important issue for administrators, educators, and others involved in planning the design of higher education. The intention of this article is to get more insight into this issue. By analysing administrative data from a Norwegian Business School, we examined the impact of moving from traditional school exams to home-based exams in 2020 due to COVID-19. The chosen methodology is the comparison of means by using t-test and standard linear regression models. The results indicate a weaker link between high school performance and achievements in business administration courses. Furthermore, home-based exams might disadvantage older students. This is useful knowledge in the judgement as to whether or not to introduce home-based exams as a permanent arrangement.


Adigun, I. O., Oyewusi, F. O., & Aramide, K. A. (2021). The Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic Lockdown on Reading Engagement of Selected Secondary School Students in Nigeria. Interdisciplinary Journal of Education Research, 3(1), 45-55.

Alasoluyi, O. E. (2021). Teachers’ Awareness and Competence in the Switch from Classroom-Based to Online Teaching During COVID-19 Pandemic in Lagos, Nigeria. Interdisciplinary Journal of Education Research, 3(2), 23-31.

Akulwar-Tajane, I., Raikundlia, H., Gohil, R., & Shinde, S. Academic Stress in Physiotherapy Students: Are Open Book Examinations the Solution in the Face of COVID-19 Pandemic?. doi:

Arnold, I. J., & Rowaan, W. (2014). First-year study success in economics and econometrics: The role of gender, motivation, and math skills. The Journal of Economic Education, 45(1), 25-35.

Arnold, I. & Straten, J.T. (2012). Motivation and math skills as determinants of first-year performance in economics. The Journal of Economics Education, 43(1), 33–47 [online]

Asian Chaves, R., Buitrago Esquinas, E. M., Masero, I., & Yñiguez Ovando, R. (2020). Mathematical

Background as a Success Factor in Economics and Business Degrees. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice,

Asian-Chaves, R., Buitrago, E. M., Masero-Moreno, I., & Yñiguez, R. (2021). Advanced mathematics: An advantage for business and management administration students. The International Journal of Management Education, 19(2),

Bilen, E., & Matros, A. (2021). Online cheating amid COVID-19. Journal of Economic Behavior &

Organisation, 182, 196–211. jebo.2020.12.004

Bonesrønning, H. & Opstad, L. (2012) How much is students’ college performance affected by

quantity of study? International Review of Economics Education, 11(2), 46–63 [online]

Bengtsson, L. (2019). Take-home exams in higher education: a systematic review. Education

Sciences, 9(4), 267. doi:10.3390/educsci9040267

Brookshire, R.G., & Palocsay, S.W. (2005). Factors contributing to the success of undergraduate

business students in management science courses. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, 3(1), 99–108 [online]

Cannonier, C., & Smith, K. (2019). Do crib sheets improve student performance on tests? Evidence

from principles of economics. International Review of Economics Education, 30, 100147 [online]

Chadha, D., Maraj, M., & Kogelbauer, A. (2020). Opening up assessment in the age of COVID-19: Exploring the utility of online open-book Exams. Advances in Engineering Education, 8(4), n4.

Chen, Z., Jiao, J., & Hu, K. (2020). Formative assessment as an online instruction intervention.

International Journal of Distance Education Technologies, 19(1), 1–16.

Clark, T. M., Callam, C. S., Paul, N. M., Stoltzfus, M. W., & Turner, D. (2020). Testing in the

time of COVID-19: A sudden transition to unproctored online exams. Journal of Chemical Education, 97(9), 3413-3417.

Cohn, E., Cohn, S., Balch, D. C., & Bradley Jr, J. (2004). Determinants of undergraduate GPAs: SAT

scores, high-school GPA and high-school rank. Economics of education review, 23(6), 577. 586.doi:10.1016/j.econedurev.2004.01.001

Cyrenne, P., & Chan, A. (2012). High school grades and university performance: A case

study. Economics of Education Review, 31(5), 524-54.

Dave, M., C. Dixon, & N. Patel. 2020. Open-Book Exams. British Dental Journal, 229 (12), 759–759.

Durning, S. J., Dong, T., Ratcliffe, T., Schuwirth, L., Artino, A. R., Boulet, J. R., & Eva, K. (2016).

Comparing open-book and closed-book examinations: a systematic review. Academic Medicine, 91(4), 583-599.

Eurboonyanun, C., Wittayapairoch, J., Aphinives, P., Petrusa, E., Gee, D. W., & Phitayakorn, R.

(2021). Adaptation to open-book online examination during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Surgical Education, 78(3), 737-739.

Geide-Stevenson, D. (2018). Does English proficiency affect academic performance? International Review of Economics Education, 28, 41-48.DOI: 10.1016/j.iree.2018.04.002

Horn, P. M., & Jansen, A.I. (2009) Tutorial classes – why bother? An investigation into the impact of tutorials on the performance of economics students, South African Journal of Economics, 77, (1), 179–189. 2009.01194.

Hussein, N., Rahman, N. A. A., Rusdi, S. D., Omar, M. K., & Aziz, Z. Z. A., (2018). Factors that

Influence Self-Perceived Academic Cheating: An Empirical Evidence of Business Students. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 8(11), 758-767.: /10.6007/IJARBSS/v8-i11/4952

Jimola, F. E., & Ofodu, G. O. (2021). Sustaining Learning during COVID-19 Seismic Shift: The Need to Develop Flexible Pedagogy. Interdisciplinary Journal of Education Research, 3(1), 14-26.

Johanns, B., Dinkens, A., & Moore, J. (2017). A systematic review comparing open-book and closed book examinations: Evaluating effects on development of critical thinking skills. Nurse Education in Practice, 27, 89-94. https:/

Johnson, M., Robson, D., & Taengnoi, S. (2014). A meta-analysis of the gender gap in performance

in collegiate economics courses. Review of Social Economy, 72(4), 436–459

Josien, L., & Broderick, B. (2013). Cheating in higher education: The case of multi-methods cheaters. Academy of Educational Leadership Journal, 17(3), 93.

Klein, H. A., Levenburg, N. M., McKendall, M., & Mothersell, W. (2007). ’Cheating During the College Years: How Do Business School Students Compare? Journal of Business Ethics, 72, 197-206.

Lakhal, S., Sévigny, S., & Frenette, É. (2015). Personality and student performance on evaluation methods used in business administration courses. Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability, 27(2), 171-199. 10.1007/s11092-014-9200-7

Olawale, B. E., Mutongoza, B. H., Adu, E. O., & Omodan, B. I. (2021). COVID-19 induced psychosocial challenges in South African higher education: Experiences of staff and students at two rural universities. Research in Social Sciences and Technology, 6(3), 179-193.

Omodan, B. I. (2021). Deconstructing the Challenges of COVID-19 on First-Year Rural University Students in South Africa. African Journal of Inter/Multidisciplinary Studies, 3(1), 229–242.

Opstad, L. (2018) Success in business studies and mathematical background: the case of Norway’, Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, 10(3), 399–408.

Opstad, L. (2021a). Performance and Differences in Grading Practices Among Undergraduates at Business Schools. International Journal of Assessment Tools in Education, 8(4), 785-800. https:/

Opstad, L. (2021b). Factors Explaining Business Students’ Performance In An Introductory Mathematics Course. What Are The Impacts Of Gender, Academic Ability, Personality Traits, And Attitudes Towards Mathematics? Advances in Education Sciences, 3(1), 23-43. https://org/10.5281/zenodo.5791926

Opstad, L., & Fallan, L. (2010). Student performance in principles of macroeconomics: The importance of gender and personality type. International Review of Economics Education, 9(1), 76–92

Özdin, S., & Bayrak Özdin, ?. (2020). Levels and predictors of anxiety, depression and health anxiety during COVID-19 pandemic in Turkish society: The importance of gender. International Journal of Social Psychiatry,

Roelle, J., & Berthold, K. (2017). Effects of incorporating retrieval into learning tasks: The complexity of the tasks matters. Learning and Instruction, 49, 142-156.

Parker, K. (2006) The effect of student characteristics on achievement in introductory microeconomics in South Africa, South African Journal of Economics, 74(1), 137–149

Sarfraz, M., Khawaja, K. F., & Ivascu, L. (2022). Factors affecting business school students’ performance during the COVID-19 pandemic: A moderated and mediated model. The International Journal of Management Education, 20(2),

?enel, S., & Senel, H. C. C. (2021a). Use of Take-Home Exam for Remote Assessment: A Case Study from Turkey Journal of Educational Technology and Online Learning, 4(2), 236–255.

Senel, S., & Senel, H. C. C. (2021b). Remote assessment in higher education during COVID-19 pandemic. International Journal of Assessment Tools in Education, 8(2), 181-199

Sheard, M. (2009). Hardiness commitment, gender, and age differentiate university academic performance. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 79(1), 189–204

Spiegel, T., & Nivette, A. (2021). The relative impact of in-class closed-book versus take-home open-book examination type on academic performance, student knowledge retention and wellbeing. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 1-14. /10.1080/02602938.2021.2016607

Stinebrickner, R. & Stinebrickner, T.R. (2008) The causal effect of studying on academic performance’, The BE Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy, 8(1), 1–53

Sulphey, M. M., Al-Kahtani, N. S., & Syed, A. M. (2018). Relationship between admission grades and academic achievement. Entrepreneurship and Sustainability Issues, 5(3), 648-658.

Swanepoel, C., Beukes, R., & Yu, D. (2021). Investigating factors influencing class attendance and performance of first-year economics students. South African Journal of Higher Education, 35(4), 272-294.

Vella, E. J., Turesky, E. F., & Hebert, J. (2016). Predictors of academic success in web-based courses: Age, GPA, and instruction mode. Quality Assurance in Education.

Walstad, W., & Bosshardt, W. (2019, May). Grades in economics and other undergraduate courses. In AEA Papers and Proceedings (Vol. 109, pp. 266-70).



How to Cite

Opstad, L. ., & Pettersen, I. . (2022). The Impact of Take-home Open-book Examinations due to COVID-19 among Business Students. Do Gender, Age, and Academic Skills Matter?. Interdisciplinary Journal of Education Research, 4, 28-43.