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Type: Conference paper
Title: Teaching, Learning and Assessing Using Participatory Multiple Choice Tests
Author: Cao, B.
Citation: The Education Research Group of Adelaide (ERGA) conference 2010: The Changing Face of Education, 24-25 September, 2010
Publisher: The University of Adelaide
Issue Date: 2010
Conference Name: ERGA Conference (5th : 2010 : Adelaide, Australia)
Abstract: This presentation explains and evaluates an innovative pedagogical strategy: the involvement of students in the formulation of multiple choice tests. The strategy is flexible enough to enable the use of different formats of multiple choice tests (i.e. conventional tests, confidence assessment, assertion-reason tests, liberal tests, and so on). This presentation will not discuss what test format is more effective—something examined in detail by other authors—but will explain the overall rationale behind the selection of questions for the test in this particular course. The strategy was devised for an international politics course, but can be adapted to other courses. The students were required to write and submit a multiple choice question for each weekly topic. Every week, the ten best questions (without the answers) were listed online, so that the students could research the answers in their own time –something they often did in study groups. Forty of the one-hundred questions listed online throughout the course were included in the final fifty question test. The process enabled the students to have a direct and creative input in the formulation of the test, encouraging student engagement in the course and with the material. It also enabled them to concentrate their preparation for the test on the questions chosen by the course coordinator. The instructions given to the students and the selection of questions were informed by the double aim of consolidating essential knowledge and encouraging the application of concepts and theories to the real world. The evaluation of the strategy reveals that students found the activity useful in terms of helping them ‘better understand the content of the course’, helping them ‘connect the content of the course with the real world’, as well as in terms of ‘eliminating or reducing the “fear factor” i.e. anxiety, uncertainty, when it came to prepare for the test’. The multiple choice questions created by the students were also used to identify misconceptions, generate tutorial discussion and spice up lectures with humour—all of which contributed to the success of this strategy, as evidenced by the student evaluation of the activity. Importantly, the test was also very effective as a fair instrument of assessment. Individual and overall test scores were very closely aligned with individual and overall final grades. There was also a close alignment between individual and overall test scores with individual and overall essay grades, suggesting that the activity promoted (and the test was a good indicator of) deeper learning. In short, this presentation illustrates how student participation in the creation of multiple choice tests and their integration into the delivery of the course can make multiple choice tests an engaging and effective pedagogical instrument, both in terms of teaching and learning as well as in terms of student assessment.
RMID: 0030001099
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