#12: Quiz/Test Questions

(Paulson & Faust, 2006)

Purpose: Students are asked to become actively involved in the creation of tests and quizzes. The examples they come up with maybe assigned for extra value or used on a regular class schedule to provide feedback to the student regarding whether they understand the content or not. In asking students to think up exam questions, we encourage them to think more deeply about the course material and to explore major themes, comparison of views presented, applications, and other higher-order thinking skills.

Beyond simply using example questions as a quiz or test, ask the students to evaluate the question submitted; in discussing questions, they will significantly increase their engagement of the material to supply answers. Students might be asked to discuss several aspects of two different questions on the same material including degree of difficulty, effectiveness in assessing their learning, proper scope of questions, and so forth.

Important: Identify how different questions access different information. For example, if you ask the question, “What is the formula of/for X?” then you are telling the student X is important. X may be a formula for a compound, a mathematical equation or logical argument. Whereas if you ask the relationship how does X act when it is in the presence of “Y” or “What are the units of X?” and “How does X evolve as you increase variable Z?” then you are asking for a basic understanding of X and the relationship between X and Z. This may follow a progression from what is X to what are the components that make X and how may you expect them to react? In soliciting questions it is important for the student to understand the different complexities and different levels of thinking associated with complex problems.


Tip: This activity can be adapted for large scale classrooms with the use of small groups. Small groups can work together to generate the questions. The small groups can share with the larger groups either by sharing in the larger group or by posting their questions to an online discussion board. Follow up by the instructor can happen in the next class or online through a generation of a composite document.