From the Library of the Literacy & Learning Program

For articles on a particular aspect of teaching and learning, contact LLP Coordinator Elizabeth Renfro (Sutter 245; ext. 6319). If you have articles on teaching and learning to share, please send us copies or full citations so we can add them to the LLP library.

Objective Exams, Essay Tests, and Quizzes

When faculty design an exam or quiz, basic considerations include determining the method of questioning and deciding on grading procedures. After administering the test, questions arise over whether student performance was at, above, or below expectation and whether the majority felt the exam too hard or too easy, fair or unfair. Another key point is whether the instructor's goal is assessment only or if the aim is a combination of assessing and further teaching. In this week's articles, faculty discuss these issues, summarizing results of cognitive and classroom research on various forms of exams and presenting their own experiments with test methods in their courses.

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_______ Assessment: Key to Effective Learning Considers "accountability" vs. "credentialing" assessment, plus pros and cons of objective, written, oral, and portfolio assessment.

_______ The Group Retest: A Route to Effective Cooperative Learning Procedure and theoretical basis for following individual exams with an open-book group retest.

_______ Using the True/False Question and Directed Writing Students use "directed writing" to analyze exam questions. Instructor can see students' thinking processes and "identify levels of confusion."

_______ Essay Examinations Guidelines for writing exams that assess students' content understanding and help them to engage in "synthesis and discovery." Includes useful exam vocabulary definitions.

_______ Bibliography: Objective Exams, Essay Tests, and Quizzes

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