Examining Understanding

chem test

Today was my students first chemistry test this year; about one month into the semester. We have had at least 4 quizzes (minimum one per week), so they have had excellent opportunities to self assess. At the test writing I found that I need to do more formative assessment with narrative questions, as that is where students had the most difficulty.

One challenge of a good exam is that to make questions objective removes opportunity for students to engage with the content deeply, I think. On the other hand, a subjective test is more challenging for students to answer and definitely more challenging for teachers to grade. So I try to do a mixture of both. Definitely I do a lot more objective testing than my early idealistic days of “deep, transparent assessment” where every answer was a long answer and worth mutliple points.

I find my experience with a standardized system, the International Baccalaureate Organization, makes me a better question writer and a better grader. I am more consistent and have a better grasp of what good assessment is about. It is a challenging experience every year but well worth the time and effort!

So their sweat and work is done. Now the switch is thrown and it is MY turn to work marking their assessments.

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