Re: "...programming skills assessed only via examination..."
In the late 70s, you pretty much HAD to program on paper; although we did have an interactive terminal (whoo-hoo!),you still had to edit things line-at-a-time, and you could only see a few lines at once. If you wanted an overview of your code, you had to keep a listing next to you, and constantly refer to it - usually making annotations on the paper as you went!
My usual development process then was to sketch a flow-chart, write the code, type it in and then test it - often on a live database as there wasn't any other kind!