Students Write Their Own MC Questions

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sixer3:
Due to teaching an intro class with 250 students, I'm forced to rely on using multiple choice exams.  To help students prepare better for the exams, I am  thinking about having a weekly assignment where students submit 10 multiple choice questions based on the readings and lectures. Unfortunately, the TA and I won't actually read each question submitted, but we will skim over the questions and give students credit for completing the assignment.  Then, on exam day, they will see similar questions, provided that they wrote good questions about main topics.   Good teaching strategy? 


opsman:
That might work for a small section of graduate students, but I would have concerns about using it with undergraduates. In my experience they have no clue as to the pedagogy that underlies the course and the material you are trying to teach, and I would expect mostly trivial questions or worse - ones that totally miss the point of the course.

On the other hand, they could prove useful in guiding your approach to teaching the material in future semesters. At least you'll get an idea of what students don't understand about the subject.

ranganathan:
Depends on what this is supposed to accomplish.  I'm thinking you want it as a way to encourage reading, but most students would just pick really surface level facts that would be easy to turn into a mutliple choice question (example: In the photo on page 47, what color is the girl's sweater? a) blue b) red c) green). 

I'll admit that I think multiple choice questions are hard to write- harder than short answer or essay questions, for sure.  When professors and I share test banks of questions, I always end up re-writing or rejecting some.

I have had small classes of undergraduates create questions based on readings but 1) I spent a good chunk of a class meeting on discussing what makes such questions effective; 2) the questions were used in class for discussion, so they got immediate feedback on them and 3) I only did it once or twice a semester.  I think weekly- especially if you're not giving feedback on them- is overkill.

bioteacher:
Ten is too many. I have my students write questions in group work in a voluntary review session. I also ensure they know the Bloom's taxonomy levels and tell them to aim for a level 3/4 question.

Having students write challenging exam questions is a good review exercise. Telling them that it may appear on an exam in some form is an incentive. But expecting high quality questions from a high volume assignment isn't helping anyone.

larryc:
One question each.

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