25 April 2013

Better Exams: a resource request

Scientific training doesn’t include a tremendous amount of formal instruction in instruction. Teachers aren’t always taught much about how to teach, but have to figure it out through teaching assistantships and the like as they go. So it was perhaps no surprise when Labroides tweeted:

Writing better tests is a skill I desperately need to improve and is one of the things I'm looking forward to in my development.

Abby Kavner replied:

Someone should do a Better Exams blog in the style of the extremely useful Better Posters blog.

If someone created that blog, I’d read it. There is an idea just waiting for someone to pick it up and run with it. We all have to evaluate students, but surely there is some stuff that people have learned through experience that could be shared.

I know there are blogs about education out there, but focusing on just exams would be very helpful. For instance, Better Posters was successful because it focused on just one thing, even though posters and slide presentations have a lot of similarities. Both are exercises in graphic design, communication, and so on.

Regardless of whether you want to do that particular project of “Better Exams” or not, I would encourage you to think about this if you want to blog:

“How can I help people?”

I talk about this some more in a new article at SpotOn about the Better Posters blog. One of the secrets to its success was that it was something that tried to help solve problems. Academics are trained to be critical, and criticism is good, but often feels like a negative thing. Something that says, “I’m here to help solve your problem” is refreshing.

External links

The underappreciated skill of writing exams

1 comment:

MineralPhys said...

Thanks for posting this request. On my blog, I did a single post on the subject of writing better exam questions. Here it is: