exams (rant)

Ken Klemow kklemow at wilkes1.wilkes.edu
Fri Mar 3 17:24:45 EST 2000


>Ever give an exam that gives the students every opportunity to show
>what they know, that includes examples you have gone over in class,
>that covers just what the syllabus says it will, that you have you
>talked about with great skill and enthusiasm, that reinforces what
>they are doing in the lab---and they all still fail?
>
>We have done everything we can think of to make the material
>interesting, to have live material (botany class) and not just pickled
>or dry stuff, to back up lectures with web-based materials, to have
>lab and lecture impart non-conflicting information, to be available
>for outside-class help, and to encourage them to think, compare,
>theorize, etc.  This semester, nothing seems to have worked.
>
>I have just marked the biggest pile of incompletely-memorized facts,
>poorly-understood theories, fuzzy thinking, bad spelling, and
>atrocious handwriting yet.  We know we're teaching, but I have no idea
>what the students think they're doing.  It's certainly not reading the
>text or studying...
>
>Monique Reed
>Texas A&M

Hi Monique,

I'm sorry for your plight.  Are your students freshmen or upper level
students?  Liberal arts majors?  Future physicians?  Future Ph.D.-level
botanists?

It might help to put together a focus group of 6-8 students from that class
with whom you could explore your concerns more fully.  Pizza or Chinese
food would be  a help.  Perhaps one of your colleagues or some grad
students might want to sit in and facilitate the flow of ideas and try to
find where the disconnect is happening.  Does your institution have an
instructional development center that might help?

Good luck.  Remember, the end of the semester is only about 8 weeks away.

Ken K.

Kenneth M. Klemow, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology & GeoEnvironmental Science
Biology Program
Wilkes University
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766
e-mail: kklemow at wilkes1.wilkes.edu
webpage: http://wilkes1.wilkes.edu/~kklemow
phone: 570-408-4758
fax: 570-408-7862


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