Tyler [Cowen] once walked into class the day of the final exam and said, “Here is the exam. Write your own questions. Write your own answers. Harder questions and better answers get more points.” Then he walked out. The funniest thing was when a student came in late and I had to explain to him what the exam was and he didn’t believe me!
I was impressed. This approach, unlike most exams but like actual economies, rewards rather than punishes specialization. I asked Tyler what happened. He replied:
I would say that the variance of the test scores probably increased!
I don’t recall if I ever did that again for a whole exam but most of my exams do that for at least one question. It’s the question where you learn the most about the student.