This question is similar to "Should I design my exams to have time-pressure or not?", but is, I think, sufficiently different to deserve its own space.
Naively, there are two benefits to placing (any, or at least strict) time limits on tests:
- It saves me time giving tests (not a noble end, but not so ignoble it deserves to be completely discarded either), and
- Students who really really "get" the material will have not struggle with time limits, so I can single those students out by placing (severe-enough) time restrictions on the exam.
I've found ways to make item 1 less important, but I've come to suspect item 2 is just plain false in many cases. I am curious if there is any research supporting this. So we have
Question 1: is there any research relating to performance on time-restricted mathematics tests and (somehow suitably defined) a student's grasp of the material they are being tested over. (Both positive and negative results on the efficacy of time-restriction are welcome.)
However, on a slightly different note, I'm also dubious whether it's all that important to separate those who really really "get" the material from those who are "merely competent enough." So we also have
Question 2: is it all that important to separate the "ultra-high-performing" students from the "pretty-darn-good" students, and if not, is there any other reason at all (aside from item 1 above) for giving time-restricted mathematics exams?
((Please feel free to edit the question, I feel its clarity can be improved.))