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Exam As A Positive Experience For Both Students And Teachers

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.185.1 - 2.185.12

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Paper Authors

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Peck Cho

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1675

Exam as a Positive Experience for Both Students and Teachers

Peck Cho Department of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics Michigan Technological University

ABSTRACT New instructors know that the exams that they give students in their classes should serve many functions, in addition to evaluating the students' performance for the purpose of assigning a letter grade at the end of the term. For example, they know that exams ought to promote learning by stimulating teachers to clarify learning objectives, by motivating students to study, and by providing timely feedback to students as to whether they have or have not accomplished their learning objectives. But, what is usually not obvious to new faculty is how to construct exams to serve these additional functions effectively. This paper presents an innovative technique of constructing effective exams that satisfy the multiple functions of exams and, at the same time, minimize the frustration often associated with grading. These techniques are based on Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives, Perry's model of intellectual development, and other pedagogical models. Examples of exam questions from thermodynamics are presented for illustration purpose. Also presented are the techniques and tips which new faculty can use when returning exams in order to emphasize and focus on the constructive aspects of exam. A model exam-feedback-sheet is also introduced. These techniques can improve the overall exam experience for students and teachers.

INTRODUCTION Making and grading exams are perhaps the most dreaded parts of teaching for teachers. Grading exams for hours can be very boring and even agonizing if the students' solutions to exam questions are either unorganized or only partially legible. Furthermore, when the exam is one of problem solving, which often is the case in engineering courses, it could be extremely frustrating to find a point of divergence of the students' solutions from the model solution. Also, it is taxing to maintain a high degree of consistency in scoring the exam, especially in the case of a class with a high student enrollment. Often the reward of conscientious grading is the endless argument about partial credits from students after the exams are returned. The students dislike taking exams as much as the professors dislike grading them. Consequently, both faculty and

Cho, P. (1997, June), Exam As A Positive Experience For Both Students And Teachers Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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