The "Write Your Own Exam" Workshop
Let us assume you are the teacher in each of these situations, and you want to know the following things about your students. How would you measure their knowledge in an exam and why would that strategy be more effective and efficient than the others? The typical exam types are: multiple choice; true/false; short answer; and essay exam.
Once you've decided on your examination type, how would you write a question to produce the kind of answer you want to measure, and how would you prepare to grade the answers? Then, turn one of the non-essay measurement motives above into a motive that you believe requires an essay exam?
Finally, are there any types of knowledge or performance implied by the motives above that cannot be completely measured with a written exam? What type of measurement device would complete or improve your measurement of the students' knowledge? How would you grade those non-exam devices?
1) Does your organic chemistry student know in which sequence to add chemicals together in order to synthesize ethanol?
2) Can your political science student explain what most contemporary historians believe are the causes of the Whiskey Rebellion?
3) Does your education student know the laws governing the serving of alcohol on public school property in the State of Maryland?
4) How much does your philosophy student know about the classical Greek concept of "mania" as it relates to the ecstatic drunkenness practiced in the worship of Dionysus and the “sober mania” in the worship of Apollo?