Session Type

Presentation

Start Date

6-7-2011 10:15 AM

Keywords

Evaluation of Learning, Multiple-Choice Examinations, Immediate Feedback, Examination Methods

Primary Threads

Evaluation of Learning

Abstract

Multiple-choice (MC) exams allow a large range of topics to be efficiently tested. However, the effort required to construct a good MC exam—one that tests comprehension and ability to apply knowledge, rather than rote memorization—leads to a reluctance to release solutions, thus limiting the value of the exam to students. Furthermore, students often do not spend the time necessary to review the MC portion of graded exams and may not be aware of their weaknesses with a particular topic in the syllabus.

We employed a recent innovation that provides feedback from MC questions, the Immediate Feedback Assessment Technique (IFAT), in a standard first-year Physics course. In this scheme, students respond to MC questions by scratching off a thin, opaque covering from the rectangle corresponding to their answer on a special answer card similar to a “scratch and win” lottery ticket. If their answer is correct, they uncover a star and receive full credit. In the event of a wrong answer they may reconsider their response, and scratch again to earn partial credit. Students thereby receive immediate feedback on their answers, turning the examination itself into a learning experience.

It is relatively simple to implement this form of assessment at your institution. The IFAT cards are available for purchase from Epstein Educational Enterprises. However, there are some obstacles. Since machine grading of the IFAT cards is not available, we relied on additional graduate student support for this purpose. We will also discuss the new forms of cheating attempted by students as well as difficulties we encountered constructing our tests with the IFAT system.

Based on standardized tests and comparison with a control group, we found that students improved their performance using the IFAT system, with the largest gains seen for conceptually difficult questions. Furthermore, based on an exit survey, students in the study strongly preferred this method of MC testing.


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Jul 6th, 10:15 AM

Scratch and Win! - Immediate Feedback in Physics Multiple-Choice Quizzes and Exams

Multiple-choice (MC) exams allow a large range of topics to be efficiently tested. However, the effort required to construct a good MC exam—one that tests comprehension and ability to apply knowledge, rather than rote memorization—leads to a reluctance to release solutions, thus limiting the value of the exam to students. Furthermore, students often do not spend the time necessary to review the MC portion of graded exams and may not be aware of their weaknesses with a particular topic in the syllabus.

We employed a recent innovation that provides feedback from MC questions, the Immediate Feedback Assessment Technique (IFAT), in a standard first-year Physics course. In this scheme, students respond to MC questions by scratching off a thin, opaque covering from the rectangle corresponding to their answer on a special answer card similar to a “scratch and win” lottery ticket. If their answer is correct, they uncover a star and receive full credit. In the event of a wrong answer they may reconsider their response, and scratch again to earn partial credit. Students thereby receive immediate feedback on their answers, turning the examination itself into a learning experience.

It is relatively simple to implement this form of assessment at your institution. The IFAT cards are available for purchase from Epstein Educational Enterprises. However, there are some obstacles. Since machine grading of the IFAT cards is not available, we relied on additional graduate student support for this purpose. We will also discuss the new forms of cheating attempted by students as well as difficulties we encountered constructing our tests with the IFAT system.

Based on standardized tests and comparison with a control group, we found that students improved their performance using the IFAT system, with the largest gains seen for conceptually difficult questions. Furthermore, based on an exit survey, students in the study strongly preferred this method of MC testing.