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Lesson 4: Alternative Testing Modes

  1. Give the students the option of taking or making a final exam.
  2. Performance Tests:
    The student actually performs a specific skill based on:
    • specific criteria (or a rubric) for scoring.
    • specifically stating the problem so students know what to expect.
    • students having more than one opportunity to perform the skill.
  3. Create-a-game exam:
    The students create a game that covers the range of information relevant to the course.
  4. Take home tests:
    This is not advisable in an introductory course where certain facts and/or skills must be mastered in order to advance to more complicated concepts or courses.
  5. Give the students the questions and/or topics before class, but have them write out the answers in class.
  6. Open-book tests:
    It is probably not appropriate in an introductory course where certain facts and/or skills must be mastered in order to advance to more complicated concepts or courses.

    Students who are lacking basic knowledge may waste too much time consulting references versus writing. Therefore, you may want to devote some class time to these skills.

    A compromise might be to allow them to bring one 3 x 5 card, or one page of notes.
  7. Paired testing:
    Two students turn in one test. To ensure, individual accountability you may want them to take the exam individualy prior to taking it together.
  8. Portfolios:
    A portfolio is a cumulative collection of a student's work. The student decides what examples they wish to hand in. It might include journal entries, compositions, etc. You'll need to assign clear grading criteria, preferably through a rubric.
  9. Return graded, scored and unmarked exams to students and then have them work with other students (two to three) to retake the exam.

    Put students with similar scores together.

    Students are given the following guidelines:
    • Information can only be shared with your assigned group.
    • The first and second grade are averaged together.
    • Or, students turn in their own exam, so that group consensus is not necessary.
  10. Exam Performance Feedback, A Collaborative Approach
    • Students individually take the exam during the first hour of class and during the second hour they get into groups of four to six with the students that scored higher acting as group leaders. (This will require the instructor to grade the exams during the first hour.)
    • Each group is given one or two blank exams.
    • In groups, students briefly discuss and answer each question without the use of their notes, etc.
    • Group leaders are encouraged to model their test taking process using "I" statements such as "I marked this statement false because."
    • The group leader then helps the group come to some consensus regarding their answers.
    • The large class then resumes and goes over the test.
    • The groups read their answers. The right answers are acknowledged and the wrong answers are challenged by other groups.
      Benefits:
      • Students get feedback on the exam and can listen and participate objectively because they are not distracted by the grade they received.
      • Students question test taking strategies and learn from their peers.

Lessons: Index, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, References

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