How do your students know whether they have mastered a concept before they take a formal assessment? Your students may take advantage of online textbook resources that include cognitive tutors to test their knowledge if available. And, methods such as iterative assignments with defined revision cycles, group discussion, interactive video, a pre-quiz, and class review time can help as well.
There are powerful alternatives to final exams including final projects and final presentations, but if you’re set on giving a final exam, consider making it comprehensive. Further, consider frequent cumulative benchmark quizzes as part of your students’ practice regimen.
When it comes to marathon running, it has often been said that the race is really about the last few miles. “I ran great for the first 18 miles, but my time really fell off toward the finish.’ No. The race IS the last few miles. The marathon is a long challenge requiring deep and substantial practice in order to attain mastery. So it can be with our designed learning experiences.
Open-book tests can reduce student anxiety associated with memory recall and better train future professionals for jobs requiring critical thought and constant renewal of domain knowledge.
If you mention group projects to students you will most likely receive negative feedback on the prospect of having to work with peers on a project that affects individual grades. Group work is beneficial because it mirrors workplace and career environments.
The value of competing against yourself – Ipsative assessment is the practice of determining a student’s progress based on their earlier work. Many assignments and rubrics are designed to measure student work in the normative assessment mode; that is, against a static set of criteria — often necessarily so.
You’re probably familiar with the old joke in which a man’s wife notices him cutting the ends off the ham before baking it. He tells her that’s the way his dad does it and it’s a key secret to the wonderful taste. When the man’s wife finally asks her father-in-law about it he laughs and replies, “That’s not it! If I don’t cut the ends, the ham won’t fit in my pan.’
How many teachers have thought “If that student would put as much effort into studying or completing assignments as he does finding ways to cheat, he wouldn’t need to cheat!’ But there are a variety of reasons why students cheat in the first place, so being proactive in your exam creation efforts may be better focused in prevention strategies.
The end of the semester is a good time to review how well your students did on your class assessments and if those assessments actually gave you evidence of student’s understanding. One type of assessment that you might include in your course is a test that students access through Blackboard.
With so many new software and hardware options being released every day, how do you know where to start when either integrating modern tools into your course activities or moving your course or materials online?