Students designing their own test questions

I indicated to the students in the subject outline at the start of the semester that they would co-write the test questions. I think they were initially taken aback  – unknown territory – but survey results tell me they support the idea and have embraced it. We are currently finalising the test questions. We work-shopped them today. Initially they seemed incapable of generating the questions – they weren’t sure about what kind of questions I was angling for. I told them to think of questions that they think are relevant to testing the information they have gathered and the learning that has occurred – questions they think could answer in the test about aspects of the course learning materials that have sparked their interest or which have “stuck”. So to kick things off I put up on the screen the test questions from last year and gradually they gained the confidence to re-fashion some, eliminate others, suggest new ones, etc. We will end up with 6 questions. I will choose 4, but they will not know which 4. In the test they will choose 2 questions they think they can best answer. The idea is to remove exam anxiety and to test whether interested learning has occurred – not make them jump through a flaming hoop and punish them if they can’t cram. One student suggested that next year I assign one or two students each week to come up with a question that arises out of that week’s pre-class learning materials. We then workshop that question in the tutorial and that question joins an ongoing bank of questions that would be possible candidates for the end-of-semester test – not a bad idea. This move on my part is consonant with the idea of students co-generating content for greater buy-in and so there is a more organic, student-centred linking of content, assessment and student motivation.


One thought on “Students designing their own test questions

  1. Pingback: Using reflective e-journals for the first time as an assessment task | Testing 'flipped learning'

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