Jacques Verger

A note on medieval docimology . Vocabulary used in the assessment of student abilities and knowledge in universities during the Middle Ages

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Within such a well-structured teaching apparatus as that of universities in the Middle Ages, in which students were graded and assessed with the use of examinations, assessment criteria of students' abilities and knowledge expressed by a specific vocabulary were soon formalized. Assessment criteria were applied at all stages of a student's education: from entering a university or college, during his studies, and above all in the final exams. Such criteria took into consideration regular course attendance, student morality and, ultimately, his ability to pass the final exams (lecturae and disputationes) in a satisfactory manner. Exams were taken individually and in oral format, but the idea to test students in groups and assess each according to his own merits already existed, at least in an embryonic stage, in universities during the Middle Ages. However, teaching methods and exam formats do not appear to have ever undergone critical assessment, but enjoyed general consensus.


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