Assessment of students

Ross Koning koning at ECSUC.CTSTATEU.EDU
Tue Mar 18 11:56:36 EST 1997

At 7:44 AM -0000 3/18/97, Ian_Max.Moller at wrote:
>Dear Plant Ed'ers
>I am sending this questions once more since I am a=20
>bit disappointed by the small response I got on=20
>the first round. To date I have received five=20
>responses and I am sure there are many more of you=20
>experienced teachers who can contribute.=20
>Please tell me what forms you have tried (applied=20
>at any time during the course and used to evaluate=20
>any aspect of the course), what type of course it=20
>was tried in (subject, number of students,=20
>duration of course), how successful you thought=20
>the various evaluation forms were and what the=20
>student responses were.=20
>I very much appreciate your response before the=20
>end of March. I intend to post a compilation=20
>sometime during April.

Dear Ian,

I have used multiple (gag) choice, essay, short answer,
and other kinds of exam questions.  Most of my exams are
a mixture of many kinds of questions, some more structured
some less so.  I also have diagrams to label, diagrams to
draw and label, etc.  I like to ask open-ended questions
whenever I feel creative enough.

I have also used laboratory exercise worksheets, laboratory
reports, oral reports, term projects, and computer simulation
results to evaluate student performance.

As there are different teaching styles and different student
learning styles evident, I try to provide a variety of
pathways to evaluation.  As class size is lower, my efforts
for diversity in evaluation increase.  I am thrilled to be
at a teaching/learning university where class sizes are
strictly limited and I can really bring up some scientists
through a developmental pathway.  Creative thinking in
evaluation can be done when classes are smaller.  In this
environment I find that I can evaluate the multidimensional
qualities needed in a developing scientist.

I know I have not really answered your question about "which
form was most useful" but that is on purpose.  To me each
form of evaluation has its value and usefullness and so
I aim for diversity to test the metal in all directions.
There is no one form that can adequately test the qualities
of a scientist, nor the progress of a student, in my opinion.
Even those multiple choice questions I loathe (because they
only test concrete learning and short-term memorization
skills out of the context of true science) have their use.
If you wish to assess current facility with vocabulary, then
this tool is appropriate.  If you want to test the ability
to think, then an expository writing evaluation is one
possible way...a project can lead evaluation of inquiry
skills...sketching and diagram labeling can test the visual/
cognitive connection for visual learners...oral reports can
test the organizational and communication skills of the
student.  A sustained independent study project over several
semesters can be used to evaluate the progress of the student
as a true scientist.  So I really don't like tests that are
all one type of evaluation unless they are supplemented with
evaluations of other types in the course.

The structures of three of my courses, including sample exams
and other evaluation instruments, are outlined on my WWW pages
at the URL in my signature file below.

Good Luck with your project, Ian!


Ross Koning                 | koning at
Biology Department          |
Eastern CT State University | phone: 860-465-5327
Willimantic, CT 06226 USA   | fax: 860-465-4479

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