June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
This study compares several methods of examinations given in both an introductory solid mechanics course and a follow-up machine component design course. To help determine the best frequency of evaluating student performance, several examination schedules are compared for each course. For the introductory solid mechanics course, three exam schedules were used: Three equally-distributed 75 minute exams with a 120 minute final exam; two 75-minute midterms, daily five-minute clicker quizzes and a 120 minute final exam; and six or seven shorter 40 minute exams in addition to the final exam. The machine component design course used two different schedules: Two equally-distributed 120 minute exams; and six or seven equally-distributed 50-minute exams. Neither exam schedule for the machine component design course used a final exam. Typically, the longer exams (75 minutes and longer) each had three or four problems, while the shorter 40 or 50 minute exams had two problems each.
The relative effectiveness of each method is evaluated using outcomes assessment data from the exam questions given and via student self-assessment. From the instructor point of view, it is found that offering what amounts to twelve to fifteen midterm problems over the course of the semester instead of nine to twelve allowed for finer evaluation of student outcomes. That is, a problem could be given early in the semester that tests stress transformations explicitly via a predetermined set of axial and shear stresses. Later in the term, a more complex problem requiring students to evaluate these stresses and then find the appropriate principal stresses could be offered, allowing the instructor to assess each of these steps in a more straightforward manner.
Performance on midterm and final examinations using each schedule is compared. Both methods are tested for students’ ability to demonstrate knowledge of new concepts as they are taught via midterm performance, and ability to retain these concepts on a cumulative final exam. It is found that student performance on these midterms is improved when more midterms are offered rather than fewer. Further, the data shows comparable final exam performance regardless of the number of midterm exams offered. Lastly, students’ self-assessment of learning is improved when there are more midterms in the course; students feel that they have learned concepts more thoroughly when there are more exams. The data shows a similar understanding at the end of the course no matter which schedule is used.
Kuchnicki, S. N., & Kiefer, S. F. (2017, June), Frequency of Exams and Student Performance in Solid Mechanics Courses Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28386
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