Center for Teaching Excellence
Teaching & Learning Tips
Preparing for Finals
Finals are a time of anxiety for both faculty and students. As you begin preparing for final exams take some time to strategize on how you will best navigate this tense time.
"Test anxiety is reduced when a student feels adequately prepared for a test" (from Cizek & Burg, Addressing Test Anxiety, Corwin Press, 2006).
Faculty and students can contribute to reduced anxiety and better scores by following some practical tips.
Good, Better, Best: Multiple Choice Exam Construction
Do you remember the following children's ditty? "Good, better, best. Never let it rest. 'Til your good is better and your better is best." This ditty reminds us as teachers who write multiple-choice exams that there is always room for improvement. Writing better exams enables better assessment of our students' learning.
Before we consider examples of mistakes to avoid, the following example will help us to establish a common language about the parts of a multiple-choice exam item.
Strengths and Dangers of Essay Questions for Exams
Charles Champlin (2006), a journalist for Time and Life magazines, describes his experience of taking essay tests as a student at Harvard:
"The worst were the essay questions (which seemed only distantly related to whatever you'd read or heard in lectures). They made a statement and then simply said, ‘Discuss.' O terrifying word, ‘Discuss.' Nothing so simple as tossing in a few facts retained from all-night cramming. It was meaning that was sought - which was, as I'd already begun to appreciate, the way it should be. But it was a strained step up from the exams I'd known before, when memory, regurgitated, would get you around almost any corner."
A Preview: Spring 2014
CTE's Upcoming Events
Faculty, Adjunct Faculty, and Graduate Student Events
- The Teacher Scholar Nexus
- Addressing Disruptive and Dangerous Behavior
- Discussion of Reading: Assessing Underserved Students' Engagement in High Impact Practices
- Understanding International Graduate Students' Experiences and Perspectives
- Reflecting in Writing: A Critical Practice for Future Faculty
- Documenting the Impact of Your Scholarship
- Apps Students Are Using to Study
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